Photo: Peter Nixon
It was a truly international turnout at Royal Windsor, with four different nations taking the top four spots in the Kingdom of Bahrain Stakes for the King’s Cup.
Robert Whitaker took an early lead, but was knocked into second place by Germany’s Daniel Deusser, who was last to go. Just behind Robert in third was former world number one Kent Farrington from the USA, while Canada’s Tiffany Foster took the fourth spot.
Ten of the 30 starters jumped clear over Bob Ellis and Kelvin Bywater’s challenging 1.55m course to make it through to the jump-off, which featured many of the world’s best riders.
First to go was Laura Kraut, who won the class two years ago. This year she was on her new ride Catwalk 22, who set the standard with a clear round in a time of 38.99sec.
Canada’s Tiffany Foster moved into pole position when she shaved 1.87sec off Laura’s time, but her lead was short-lived. Robert Whitaker rode an immaculate round with Catwalk IV, and their tight turn to the double down the final line saw them move into first place (36.81sec).
Next into the arena was 2008 Olympic champion Eric Lamaze, who showed the time could be beaten. However, the twelve-year-old Chacco Kid clipped the vertical going into the final double to finish on four faults.
With two former world number one riders still to jump, Robert’s lead was far from secure. Kent Farrington – who won the Rolex Grand Prix at Windsor Last year – came close with Creedance, but were 0.03 seconds slower.
There was now just Daniel Deusser between Robert and the title. Daniel was riding Equita Van T Zorgvliet, with whom he won the Bahrain Pearl Stakes the previous day.
The pair retained its top form, riding the tightest lines and striding out between the fences to post a super-fast time of 35.51sec and win the class.
“It’s turning out to be a good show for me this week, I’m wondering why I haven’t been here before!” said Daniel. “I’m really happy with how it went, I managed to make a couple of really tight turns, so I thought I was quick, but I knew Robert’s horse was big striding, so I couldn’t relax.
“The win is extra special as I will now get to meet the Queen, which is a great honour and I am really looking forward to it.”