James Whitaker opened his legendary showjumping family’s winning account at the TheraPlate UK Liverpool International Horse Show on Saturday evening.
James, younger brother of Great Britain Nations Cup rider William Whitaker, took top honours in the Equerry Horse Feeds Under-25s Grand Prix.
It was a stylish performance in a class that produced just three clear rounds from 18 starters.
Ultimately, it proved to be a showdown between James on Caloro Ex Z and Robert Murphy, riding Highgrove Violet.
Robert followed his first round clear with another immaculate display, clocking 43.25 seconds, but James clipped half a second off that time to claim a £2,000 winner’s purse.
Harry Wainwright and Pinheiro Beech finished third, with leading Irish challengers Jason Foley and Castlefield Cass in fourth.
Reflecting on his victory, James said: “It’s fantastic. We didn’t have the best of weeks in a show last week, but we came back and tried hard, and luckily it paid off.
“You have got to learn from your mistakes, and we’ve both done that and got a great result from it.
“It was a tough course. There were only three clears in the end, and luckily it played into my hands a little bit.
“I wasn’t last to go (in the jump-off), so I didn’t have loads of pressure, but I put enough pressure on the last to go to have a fence down, so it worked out perfectly for me.
“We’ve only been together for about four or five months. We’ve won a couple of classes, so we are slowly getting together, and hopefully next year we will have a good year.
“It’s fantastic to win here at Liverpool, and I can finish the year on a high now.”