After taking time to rest after the World Equestrian Games in Normandy, Michael Whitaker and Viking emerged as winners in the CSI5* Rikstoto Grand Prix in Oslo, Norway today. The win did not come easy however, as Michael and the 12 year old Dutch-bred gelding battled it out against no less than twenty other combinations. Italy’s Uliano Vezzani’s course saw plenty of clear rounds in the initial stage, meaning that the jump off would be highly contested. With nearly half the start list in the jump off, Whitaker had to call on all his experience and drive to take home the win with the charismatic Viking.
The Dutchman Jur Vrieling, enjoying a tremendous season aboard VDL Bubalu, took home second place with Flash Dance V. Kalevallei with a time only 0.02 seconds behind the long-standing British rider, Whitaker. Switzerland’s reigning Olympic Gold medalist, Guerdat, finished third with Albfuehren’s Paille while Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum secured fourth place for Germany in a skillful execution aboard the inexperienced but highly talented 9 year old Dutch-bred mare. The best performing Norwegian rider was Geir Guilliksen and Edesa S Banjan, finishing 9th place with a time of 36.56 seconds.