“I am not going to stop riding, until my name is on the winners’ board,” the 52-year-old British rider, Michael Whitaker, had announced on the eve of the ROLEX Grand Prix, the Grand Prix of Aachen. And because Whitaker obviously wasn’t sure, after a few beers he wrote his name on the plaque, where the names of the winners of the Grand Prix of Aachen are eternalised, with a marker pen.
The only thing he didn’t get right was the name of the horse – he wrote Totilas on the board. But all’s well that ends well: Whitaker won the Grand Prix live today with his 12-year-old Belgian gelding, GIG Amai. He sped over the obstacles in the jump-off with the Nonstop/Bacara son and reached the finish line in 49.73 seconds, beating the time of 54.37 seconds set by the first rider in the jump-off, Thomas Voß (Holstein) with his Holsteiner stallion Carinjo by Cascavelle/Landgraf I.
Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum collected four faults in the jump-off with Bella Donna, a Holsteiner Baldini II/Calido I daughter, who is just 9 years old (4/59.96 seconds).
The course designer, Frank Rothenberger, was also satisfied. “If everything goes as planned, we should have an exciting jump-off,” he noted before the jump-off. Hans-Dieter Dreher finished fourth with the 11-year-old stallion, Embassy II, an Escudo/Silvio son.
Photo: Michael Whitaker and ALRV-President Carl Meulenbergh (right) and Peter Streit, General Manager of ROLEX Deutschland GmbH.