Joe Whitaker is best known for being an international showjumper and part of the famous Whitaker family. Uncles John and Michael have won Olympic medals and Joe himself, has represented Great Britain in both youth and senior teams, winning the five-star Nations Cup in 2016. Joe’s big show jumping wins include the 2018 Hickstead Derby and the British Speed Classic at the Royal International in 2017.
Yesterday, Tuesday 28th January 2020, at Newcastle racecourse Joe achieved a lifelong dream of wining as a jumps jockey, on his debut race. Riding Ladronne, owned by Mrs V Walker and trained by Tjade Collier, they won the amateur rider’s handicap hurdle as 15/8 favorite. Together, they flew over the final hurdle and then perfectly timed, Joe rode Ladronne to the posts to win by a neck.
Joe has been riding out for Grand National winning trainer Sue Smith since last summer.
After the race Joe said “I felt like he was still very strong and I could feel he was still on the bridle and I knew he had it — I didn’t know who was beside me or behind me, I just thought ‘wait until the very last second and then give it some. Fair play to Tjade as well, because his instructions were 150% What a man, he is a serious trainer in the making. I was just focusing on riding smooth and getting in a rhythm, breathing, relaxing and just finding the race and taking it from there. “I enjoyed every second of it and can guarantee I will be doing it again.”
Ladronne’s trainer Tjade Collier was delighted with how Joe rode, both the horse, trainer and Joe’s first win. “It’s a relief, I’m so excited. I said if you can give me a hand for a few weeks with some youngsters to get them going, I’ll give you a nice ride. What a peach he gave him, I said to him that I would rather he kicked too late than too soon and he did, I tell you!”
From all of us at The Horse Exchange – THEx congratulations Joe Whitaker, Ladronne, Tjade Collier and the team.