William Whitaker is off to a great start in the FEI European Championships, after jumping clear in the opening competition.

Experienced horse

The qualifying event was a speed class, where any faults were penalised in seconds and added to the competitor’s time.

William was riding the experienced championship horse Utamaro D’Ecaussines, who jumped a superb round in a time of 85.81sec. While this puts him way down the leader board in 39th place, he is just 5.06pen off the current leader, Peder Fredricson.

Michael is out

William was supposed to be competing alongside his uncle, but Michael withdrew earlier today.

Viking was held at the first vet inspection, but then passed when he was re-presented the following day. However, when Michael warmed the 15-year-old gelding up before the competition he said the horse didn’t feel right.

There is no British showjumping team this year, as World Class Performance Manager Di Lampard decided to focus on the Nations Cup series and is looking ahead to Tokyo.

Go the Irish!

The Irish team is off to a great start and is currently in fourth position, behind Sweden in bronze medal position, France in silver and Switzerland in gold.

Shane Sweetnam is currently eighth individually with Chaqui Z, Cian O’Connor (Good Luck) is 10th, and Denis Lynch (All Star 5) is 22nd.

Bertram Allen provided the discard score, after Hector Van D’Abdijhoeve stopped at fence six.

Catch all the action

The first round of the team competition kicks off tomorrow (24 August) and concludes on Friday. William will ride again as the individual riders also compete.

You can follow all the action with H&C as we are filming in Gothenburg to bring you behind-the-scenes action and interviews. We are also showing highlights of the team showjumping competition on H&C TV.

FEI Europeans 2017: Team Jumping is on 29 August at 9pm on Sky 253, or you can watch online via H&C Play or Amazon Video.

H&C coverage of the European Championships is sponsored by