To win a high-level class at 60 years-old? It’s still possible in show-jumping just as proved, one more time, by the multiple-time medalled John Whitaker, winner this afternoon of the Prix Monte-Carlo Bay with his mare Ornellaia. The absolute uncommon longevity of the British rider (more than forty years of career and an impressive track record) enforces some respect, and it’s not his fellow compatriot, Ben Maher, ranked back at the second place with Aristo Z, who will disagree.
After his victory last February in the Grand Prix of Hong Kong with Argento, and his recent great performances with Ornellaia, it seems that the the former partner of the legendary horse Milton has found new horses to keep going on with this sweet taste of victory for some years from now. "I love the sport. When you win a class like this one, it gives you more motivation to continue. Ornellaia is ten now, and I think she is perfect for the Global Champions Tour circuit. She didn’t do a really big Grand Prix, except for Shangai where she went clear. I’m thinking about her for the Grand Prix of Estoril next month. She’s doing really amazing and that gives me confidence for the future."
Facing a younger generation of talented riders, the experienced John Whitaker keeps his sense of competition and also all the adrenaline that accompanies him : “I think that the more time passes, the more I feel the stress. When I was younger, it mattered a little, but today there is much more pressure because everyone waits for me at the corner.”