Israeli rider Robin Muhr won Saturday’s opening competition at Jumping Verona 2022, the Franco Tucci Speed, pinning British legend John Whitaker into second place ahead of Belgium’s Wilm Vermeier in third.
Riding the 11-year-old Diamant de Semilly gelding Baccarat Meniljean, Muhr raced home in 60.36 seconds, more than two seconds quicker than his nearest rival. This horse-and-rider partnership have been on form all year, posting 5* wins at Piazza di Siena in Rome in May and St Tropez in September and were consistently in the line-up at 5* Lyon in France last week.
Muhr was delighted with his result. “Italy is a country I’m in love with!”, said the 27-year-old rider who, partnering Sawita S, competed at this summer’s FEI World Championships in Denmark.
“I’ve already competed here several times and in 2016 I won the Under 25 class in Verona aboard Unforgettable Damvil”, he explained.
John Whitaker may be 40 years older than today’s winner but has lost little of his sparkle, and with the lovely 13-year-old Toulon gelding Sharid looked like he was enjoying himself as much as ever today as he steered a superb course to take runner-up spot.
Talking about handsome bay that looks so well-matched with his rider the British superstar and double World Cup champion said, “yesterday he was a bit fresh because he was just back from some time off, but he’s in a very good shape. He was second at the Horse of the Year Show in Birmingham (GBR) last month and he did well at the Global Champions Tour in New York in September” he pointed out.
Third-placed Wilm Wermeir was only 0.05 seconds slower than Whitaker with the 13-year-old DM Jaqmotte while Sweden’s Petronella Andersson steered Claptonn Mouche into fifth and her compatriot, world number one and double World Champion Henrik von Eckermann, steered the lovely nine-year-old grey mare Calizi into fifth spot.