John Whitaker turned back the clock and produced a vintage performance to win Saturday’s feature four-star class at the Equerry Bolesworth International Horse Show.
The 63-year-old Yorkshireman has collected 19 Olympic, World and European medals during a stellar career that has seen him land major titles all over the world.
He made his Olympic debut for Great Britain 35 years ago, and was also part of the team that went to the 2016 Rio Games.
And he showed that none of the magic has left him by winning the John Oates Horseboxes speed class in style on 17-year-old stallion Argento.
Their tried and tested partnership again served them well in a field of 44 starters as they broke 60 seconds, clocking 59.49 to post a time that no other combination seriously threatened.
John collected a £7,300 top prize, with Keith Shore and Iron Lady Van T Meulenhof continuing their successful show – they won an international class on Thursday – by taking second place and heading off a strong Irish challenge.
Ireland’s Michael Pender took third on Hhs Fortune, with his countrymen Gerard O’Neill (Castlefield Vegas) and David Simpson (Foudre F) finishing fourth and fifth, respectively.
John, though, set the standard from a relatively early draw, and he was delighted to add another top Bolesworth class to his list of achievements.
“I aimed Argento at that competition this week,” John said. “He’s 17 now, and I don’t do the big grands prix with him any more, and it all went to plan today.
“He is naturally quick and really careful, so you can take chances and you know he is going to try. He has got the experience, and we know each other very well. We have got a combined age of 80!
“It’s obviously great to win on home soil, and it is fantastic to have a show like this in the north of England.
“I am actually a little bit short of top-class horses, but I have got a couple of new ones here that I am working on to build them up.
“I still enjoy it and I can still do it, so I might as well keep going a bit longer. It gives you confidence when you win a class like that – success breeds success.”