Category Archives: Olympia

Carl Hester to Present ‘Road to Grand Prix’ Masterclass at Olympia

Leading British Dressage rider and Olympic gold medallist, Carl Hester MBE, is set to take centre stage at Olympia, The London International Horse Show 2017, performing a special masterclass on Wednesday 13 December.

Hester, who took the title of both the FEI World Cup™ Grand Prix and Freestyle at Olympia Horse Show in 2016 aboard Olympic team gold medal winning horse, Nip Tuck, will be presenting an invaluable ‘the making of a Grand Prix horse’ masterclass at this year’s Show. The Olympian will guide spectators through the elements which make a medal-contending Dressage horse, from producing the perfect piaffe to mastering the most effective mentality.

Taking to the saddle will be Olympic Champion, Charlotte Dujardin, aboard a young prospect being given a leg up to Grand Prix level by Hester himself. The evening will provide an exclusive understanding into the transition from high-level horses to Grand Prix stars, illustrating the characteristics that make horses excel at the most elite level.

Carl Hester MBE: ‘I’m really looking forward to giving a masterclass at Olympia this year. I’ve got many fantastic memories of competing at the Show, so it will be amazing to give spectators more insight into bringing on young horses and what it takes to get a horse to Grand Prix level, from the importance of early success to natural ability, and much more.’

Hester will also be making an appearance on Tuesday 12 December, joining Charlotte Dujardin to give a medal-winning masterclass, as she showcases the training routine of an Olympic Champion aboard her 16.3h FEI World Equestrian Games™ hopeful, Mount St John Freestyle.

Show Director, Simon Brooks-Ward, commented: ‘We are delighted to have Carl host a masterclass at this year’s Show. He’s a crowd favourite, and has had a long-standing affiliation with Olympia, and I am sure spectators will be excited to learn from his experience.’

The seven-day equestrian spectacle, taking place from 12-18 December 2017, will host its biggest line-up of equestrian stars yet. The world-class horse and rider combinations competing across three FEI World Cup™ competitions in Carriage Driving, Dressage and Show Jumping, will be joined by ten of the greatest ever jockeys. Racing legends Frankie Dettori and Sir AP McCoy, and their respective teammates, will switch disciplines for one night only as part of the Markel Champions Challenge in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund on Friday’s ‘Race Night’.

Adding to the phenomenal line-up will be displays from the Mounted Branch of the Metropolitan Police with their Activity Ride, and the Chilean Huasos. The Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand National is returning with an incredibly competitive line-up of young jockeys following the footsteps of their well-known racing parents, including Rocco Dettori, son of renowned flat jockey, Frankie Dettori. Crowds can also expect to see the world’s most talented dogs and their handlers, as they compete in the Kennel Club Dog Agility.

For more information on Olympia, The London International Horse Show, and how to purchase tickets, visit www.olympiahorseshow.com.

For more information, please contact:
Olympia, The London International Horse Show:
Gayle Telford, gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk 0203 176 0355

Anthony McCoy and Frankie Dettori Announce Their Teams to Compete at Olympia

Sir Anthony ‘AP’ McCoy and Frankie Dettori, MBE, have announced a stellar line-up of jockeys, past and present, to take part in the Markel Champions Challenge, in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund at Olympia, The London International Horse Show (12-18 December 2017).

For the first time ever, ten of Britain’s most legendary jockeys will go head-to-head in the Olympia Grand Hall on the evening of Friday 15 December, for one of the all-time greatest jockey showdowns, as flat and jump jockeys compete on a level playing field. The competition will be part of Race Night at Olympia and will be hosted by renowned broadcaster, Clare Balding.

The most successful National Hunt jockey in history, AP McCoy, winner of 20 consecutive Championship titles and over 4,000 races, will be gunning for glory alongside his team of former racing stars. The line-up will include Richard Dunwoody, three-time Champion jockey with credits including two Grand National wins and four King George VI victories, two of which were aboard the illustrious Desert Orchid.

Eight-time Champion jockey Peter Scudamore and seven-time Champion jockey John Francome will be adding to the team’s long list of achievements, which between them includes 38 National Hunt Jockeys Championships. The final member of the team of Champions will be nine-time Irish Champion jockey, Charlie Swan, holder of the most winners ever ridden in an Irish race season, and three-time consecutive winner of the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham aboard the great Istabraq.

AP McCoy said: ‘I rode at Olympia in 2015 and it was great fun. Last year I had to watch the flat jockeys win so I decided to come back this year with the best possible team behind me and take the crown back for the jump jockeys!’

Representing the current generation of flat racing legends, Dettori and his teammates undoubtedly have the credentials to give McCoy’s gang a run for their money as they collide in the Markel Champions Challenge. The compelling line-up will consist of Ryan Moore, three-time Champion Jockey, with a history of achievements that have led to many hailing him as one of the world’s best flat jockeys. Moore will be accompanied by Richard Hughes, who after an extremely successful career, winning three Championship Series after over 25 years in the saddle, has channelled his knowledge to become a highly successful trainer.

Richard Hughes said: ‘It’s great to be involved in Olympia Horse Show and the Markel Champions Challenge. We will certainly be looking to set the pace against McCoy and his golden oldies! The event is also in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund, a fantastic cause, and a great chance to raise awareness of the incredible work they do.’

Last season’s Champion jockey Jim Crowley will be adding to the team’s prestige, with a history of jump and flat racing which started in the Shetland Pony Grand National. Crowley is sure to bring a competitive-edge. Jamie Spencer, who in August of this year rode his 2,000th winner, one of only twenty-two jockeys to have reached this landmark, will be hoping to lead his team down the home straight as the final member of Dettori’s team.

Clare Balding, MBE, who will be joining the fun as commentator in the ring, said: ‘The Markel Champions Challenge at Olympia Horse Show is going to be particularly exciting this year, with so many highly-acclaimed jockeys competing under one roof. It’ll be a very special occasion, and I am thrilled to be involved. We know they can all jump at speed but let’s see which one can do that without sending poles flying.’

The Markel Champions Challenge, in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund, will take place on Friday 15 December as part of ‘Race Night’ at Olympia, an evening of race-themed entertainment, including the Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand National, in aid of the Bob Champion Cancer Trust.

For more information, please contact:
Olympia, The London International Horse Show:
Gayle Telford, gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk 0203 176 0355

Charlotte Dujardin Returns to Olympia Horse Show to Give Medal-Winning Masterclass

Triple Olympic gold medallist, Charlotte Dujardin, will be gracing the Olympia Grand Hall once again as it is announced she will be conducting a Dressage masterclass at Olympia, The London International Horse Show.

Dujardin, who retired her Olympic partner Valegro in an emotional ceremony at last year’s Show, will be treating spectators to a dynamic display on Tuesday 12 December 2017. Riding Mount St John Freestyle, part of Charlotte’s post-Valegro generation of horses making their mark on the sport, Charlotte will be demonstrating the skill and patience required to produce young horses.

Charlotte has high hopes for the eight-year-old Hanoverian mare, owned by Mount St John Stud, and is looking to step up to grand prix level next year with the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games™ as the target. The duo has already attained a number of titles together including the recent Future Elite Championship and the Summer British Dressage National Championship.

Mount St John Freestyle will be put through her paces as Dujardin showcases the training routine of a champion, providing invaluable tips and a wealth of knowledge to equestrian enthusiasts, who will be given a rare insight into her winning secrets.

Charlotte Dujardin CBE said: ‘I’m so excited to be taking Mount St John Freestyle to Olympia this December. I have so many great memories there, from breaking two World Records back in 2014, to Valegro’s retirement last year. The atmosphere in the Grand Hall is always electric, so it will be a great experience for her.’

Show Director, Simon Brooks-Ward, commented: ‘It is wonderful to welcome Charlotte back to Olympia this year. She has an excellent history at the Show and is a fantastic ambassador for Dressage as a sport and young riders looking to follow in her footsteps.’

Charlotte’s Masterclass will take place on the evening of Tuesday 12th December, the opening day of Olympia, the London International Horse Show and the evening of the FEI World Cup™ Dressage Grand Prix. The Show has a stellar line-up of equestrian greats joining Charlotte on centre-stage throughout the week, with racing legends Frankie Dettori and Sir AP McCoy switching disciplines for the Markel Champions Challenge, in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund on Friday’s ‘Race Night’.

The Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand National will see the likes of Champion Jockey Jim Crowley and Aintree Grand National winner Leighton Aspell pass the baton to their children, with Alice Crowley and Lucy Aspell joining Frankie Dettori’s son, Rocco, in the starting line-up.

Seven days of top international sporting action including three FEI World Cup™ competitions in Dressage, Carriage Driving and Show Jumping, are expected to attract many of the world’s best horse and rider combinations. The Chilean Huasos will making their debut, and the Kennel Club Dog Agility will be joining the action, welcoming the country’s most talented dogs and their handlers.

Tickets for most performances, including Tuesday night, are still available.  Tuesday night also sees the release of tickets for the ‘Champagne Box’ offer, details of which are included on the Show’s website.  ‘Double Dressage’ tickets can also be purchased when visitors can benefit from a discount on the Tuesday night ticket if they purchase tickets for both dressage evenings.

For more information on Olympia, The London International Horse Show, and how to purchase tickets visit www.olympiahorseshow.com.

For more information, please contact:
Olympia, The London International Horse Show:
Gayle Telford, gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk 0203 176 0355

The Magnificent Met Mounted Police Return to Olympia, the London International Horse Show

The Mounted Branch of the Metropolitan Police are set to make a fiery return to Olympia, The London International Horse Show (12-18 December, 2017).

Adding to this year’s stellar line-up of entertainment, the Mounted Branch of the Metropolitan Police will be returning with their breath-taking Activity Ride, a phenomenal demonstration of skill and bravery as they negotiate hazards, portraying complete trust between horse and Officer. Expect horses jumping through a solid paper wall, fire, and many more edge-of-the-seat moments as the horses boldly illustrate their nerves of steel, in perfect formation.

The historic act demonstrates the day-to-day training routine ahead of patrolling the busy streets of London, carrying on a proud tradition of service and duty which began in 1873, when horses were hired from a local livery stable for use in emergencies.

Inspector Simon Rooke from the Metropolitan Police Mounted Branch said: ‘The Metropolitan Police Activity Ride are extremely proud to be asked back to perform in front of the wonderful crowds at Olympia 2017. The show gives us an opportunity to demonstrate the extraordinary bravery of our horses and the unique bond of trust they have with our officers. The horses that will be performing at Olympia are all operational, and patrol the streets of London daily.’  

Show Director, Simon Brooks-Ward, commented: ‘We couldn’t be happier to see the return of the Mounted Branch of the Metropolitan Police at Olympia this year. Their performance showcases great skill and courage and is such a unique act, making it a real crowd favourite.’  

The Mounted Branch of the Metropolitan Police will be the second display at this year’s Show following the Chilean Huasos, a performance portraying the historical skills of Chilean cowboys and their trusted cattle horses. Crowds can also expect the Kennel Club Dog Agility, which will feature the world’s most talented dogs and their handlers, as well as the Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand National and the Christmas Finale, supported by The Hilton London Olympia and this year entitled – ‘Twas the Night before Christmas’.

Further to the spectacular entertainment performances will be three FEI World Cup™ competitions across the seven-day event: the FEI World Cup™ Dressage Grand Prix and Freestyle to Music supported by Horse & Hound (Tuesday 12 and Wednesday 13, respectively), FEI World Cup™ Driving leg presented by Dodson & Horrell (Friday 15 and Saturday 16) and the Longines FEI World Cup™ Show Jumping Leg (Sunday 17).

For more information about Olympia, The London International Horse Show and how to purchase your tickets, visit www.olympiahorseshow.com.

For more information, please contact:
Olympia, The London International Horse Show
Gayle Telford, gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk 0203 176 0355

Racing Legends Hand the Reins to Their Mini-Mes for Shetland Pony Grand National at Olympia

Organisers of Olympia, The London International Horse Show (12-18 December, 2017) are delighted to announce the Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand National will be back in action at the iconic venue, with a fierce line-up of young jockeys following the footsteps of their famous parents.

Amongst the starting line-up will be 10-year-old Alice Crowley, daughter of Jim Crowley, the current Champion flat jockey who commenced his racing career in the Shetland Pony Grand National. Crowley will be competing against Rocco Dettori, son of racing legend and three-time Champion jockey, Frankie Dettori. Olympia Horse Show will be a family affair for Rocco, as Frankie Dettori is set to compete in the Markel Champions Challenge in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund, as part of Friday’s ‘Race Night’ at Olympia.

Frankie Dettori said: ‘Rocco has competed in many Shetland Pony races now; he’s got a taste for winning. This year is going to be really special as I will be there too, competing in the Markel Champions Challenge on the Friday. Hopefully we are both going to win!’

Rocco Dettori said: ‘I just can’t wait to race in front of the crowd. It’s a little bit nerve-wracking, but once the race starts I’ll forget about all that and hopefully I can win.’

Also striving to replicate the success of her father will be Lucy Aspell, daughter of renowned jump jockey Leighton Aspell, winner of two consecutive Aintree Grand Nationals. Aspell will be contending for the win against Zak Kent, who will be joining Crowley to race in the notorious blue and white racing silks of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Show Director, Simon Brooks-Ward, said: ‘We are absolutely thrilled to stage the Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand National once again. Not only is it entertaining, but it is a chance for young jockeys to compete on the big stage. It’s great for the grassroots of racing; this is where many top jockeys have begun their careers.’

Top national hunt jockeys Sam and Willy Twiston-Davies kick-started their racing careers in the Shetland Pony Grand National, as did Tom Garner, who made the step up to compete in the Grand National for the first-time last year.

The young jockeys and their Shetland Ponies will be put through their paces around a miniature version of the Grand National course. All riders are between the ages of nine to fourteen and less than 5ft tall; however, onlookers are not to be fooled by their size, as Olympia Horse Show is the climax of the Shetland Pony racing calendar, guaranteeing electrifying competition.

Spectators can also expect a week of top international action, including three FEI World Cup™ competitions in Dressage, Show Jumping and Carriage Driving and performances set to captivate, such as the Chilean Huasos, a display reflecting the historical skills of Chilean cowboys, or ‘Huasos’, and cattle horses. The Kennel Club Dog Agility and Christmas Finale, supported by Hilton, London Olympia, will also be adding to the arena action.

More information about Olympia, The London International Horse Show, and how to secure your place at one of the equestrian performances of the year can be found online here.

For more information, please contact:
Olympia, The London International Horse Show:
Gayle Telford, gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk 0203 176 0355

Seven Days of Olympia

The Olympia Grand Hall has closed its doors after another very successful week of world-class equestrian sport and international displays.

Over the seven days, 90,000 spectators took to their seats to enjoy Olympia, The London International Horse Show, and applaud memorable performances including the retirement of Charlotte Dujardin’s gold medal winning partner Valegro and a home victory for Scott Brash in the Longines FEI World Cup™ qualifier presented by H&M. British Dressage’s own Superman, Carl Hester, did the double by claiming victories in the FEI World Cup™ Dressage Grand Prix and the FEI World Cup™ Dressage Freestyle, both supported by Horse & Hound, on the Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, respectively. The FEI World Cup™ Carriage Driving supported by Dodson & Horrell was won by the Boyd Exell, who once again proved he is still very much at the top of his game.

Other highlights of the event included The Shetland Pony Grand National which raised a phenomenal £38,500 for the Bob Champion Cancer Trust. The international displays of Santi Serra, which involved impressive stunts with dogs and horses, and Pride of Portugal, who dance on Lusitanos to Justin Bieber, both made their Olympia debuts and proved to be a real hit with the crowd.

The Markel Champions Challenge in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund created an electric atmosphere as the country’s top jockeys put their hand to show jumping on the Friday evening. A typically flamboyant display of riding from Frankie Dettori clinched victory for his team of flat jockeys.

For those unable to attend the Show, live coverage on the BBC, FEI TV and the Olympia website allowed them to enjoy the action from the comfort of their home.

Away from the arena spectators enjoyed a revamp of the shopping village, making it the place to go for last minute Christmas gifts for the whole family.

Show Director, Simon Brooks-Ward, commented, “This year’s Show was a tremendous success with so many highlights. Not only did we have superb competition in Dressage, Driving and Show Jumping, but the entertainment was particularly memorable, with some great acts and sporting legends gracing the arena throughout the week. In addition, the retirement of Valegro was a very special moment and it was great to be able to celebrate our achievements in Rio with a medal parade on the Friday evening.”

On Wednesday 14 December, Charlotte Dujardin and her champion companion Valegro performed their London 2012 Olympic gold medal winning routine in a ceremony prior to Valegro’s retirement from competition.

The sell-out crowd watched in awe as they performed their last dance together, with owner Carl Hester and groom Alan Davies celebrating the magnificent story of Valegro and Charlotte’s partnership, the duo exited the arena after an emotional and historical farewell.

Team GB’s Olympic medal winning partnership Carl Hester and Nip Tuck opened the show in style as they cruised to victory in the FEI World Cup™ Dressage Grand Prix supported by Horse & Hound, with Dutch Olympic team riders Hans Peter Minderhoud and Edward Gal in second and third.

Carl and Nip Tuck successfully defended their Olympia title on the following evening, with a win in the FEI World Cup™ Dressage Freestyle supported by Horse & Hound, delighting the crowd with an effortless routine.

The packed house was thrilled by Scott Brash (GBR) and his ride, Hello M’Lady, as their performance in the Longines FEI World Cup™ qualifier presented by H&M led them to snatch the victory. The celebrations were heightened as Ben Maher, the last Brit to win the class back in 2011, finished in second place.

“It’s great to perform in front of a home crowd,” said Scott after his victory. “The atmosphere was amazing the crowd really got behind us.”

With tense displays of Show Jumping throughout the week, the packed crowds were treated to world-class performances in the arena.  An impressive debut by Holly Smith and a brave round by Christopher Megahey in the Cayenne Puissance saw them both fly clearly over 7ft1in wall, resulting in them sharing the title.

On the final eve of the show, the Olympia Grand Prix was won in splendid style by Daniel Deusser, with Edwina Tops-Alexander finishing closely behind in second place, and Scott Brash in third.

Six time World Cup™ Driving champion Boyd Exell triumphed at Olympia to take the win in the final of the FEI World Cup™ Driving.

The skilled and tense final saw Exell’s performance followed closely by Jozsef Dobrovitz (HUN) and Koos de Ronde (NED).

“I feel on home ground here,” remarked Exell who moved from the UK to Holland two years ago. “That does increase the pressure for me, but equally we are all lifted by the crowd. The Show is the one we want to be at.”

The Kennel Club’s four-legged friends returned to Olympia with a great display of dog action across the week. Results of the dog agility competitions are listed below:

– The Kennel Club ABC Dog Agility Final
Dave Leach and Jotunheim Giggles
– The Kennel Club Small Dog Agility Final
Charlotte Harding and AG CH Daimonic Expelliarmus
– The Kennel Club Large Senior Dog Agility Finals
Lee Windeatt and AG CH Darleyfalls Pipistrelle
– The Kennel Club Large Novice Dog Agility Finals
Lee Windeatt and Mendipstar Coy Oaty Snuggly
– The Kennel Club Medium Dog Agility Finals
Sian Illingworth and AG CH Arnpriors Made of Honour

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Telford, Revolution Sports + Entertainment
gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk
0203 176 0355
www.olympiahorseshow.com

Daniel Deusser Signs Off on Winning Note

The final day of Olympia, The London International Horse Show, saw Daniel Deusser, an Olympic bronze medallist in Rio, win The Olympia Grand Prix in a nail-biting final against some of the world’s best Show Jumpers.

Earlier in the afternoon, the sell-out crowd watched over as Darragh Kenny cruised to the top of the leader board in the Holly Speed Stakes, supported by Olympia. Jodie Hall McAteer took control in a lightning round in the Mince Pie Stakes, and Britain’s Leading lady rider Laura Renwick shared the Six Bar title with Geir Gulliksen.

Daniel Deusser (GER) capitalised on a late draw to win the Olympia Grand Prix in splendid style, Longines FEI World Cup™ hero Scott Brash (GBR) finished third and Malin Baryard-Johnsson (SWE) hung onto the top spot in the H&M Leading Rider of the Show rankings at the culmination of a week’s thrilling equestrian sport at Olympia, The London International Horse Show.

The Grand Prix, the final class of the show, attracted a high-class field but only six riders managed to go clear over another brilliantly executed Kelvin Bywater track.

Olympic gold medallist Laura Kraut (USA), first to go in the jump-off, was nearly jumped off Cavalia at the last fence, having hit three rails; German maestro Marcus Ehning had an unexpected two rails down on Gin Chin van het Lindenhof; and both Steve Guerdat, eventual fourth on Corbinian, and Scott Brash, third on Hello Guv’nor incurred four faults.

Edwina Tops-Alexander (AUS) was masterful with a clear round on the inexperienced bay mare California but her time of 52.33 seconds looked infinitely beatable, and so it proved when last to go Daniel Deusser executed a beautifully accurate round on the 12-year-old Equita van T Zorgvliet.

“I had plenty of time to think and I knew exactly what I had to do,” said a visibly elated Daniel, who also won the opening jumping class of the show on Thursday. “I thought it was a difficult class – the fences came up quickly and the jump-off course was tricky, just as in the World Cup yesterday.”

Edwina Tops-Alexander, who has a punishing Christmas schedule ahead, said, “My mare is only nine and this is only her fourth or fifth indoor show, and there’s a lot to contend with, what with the tight arena and snowflakes falling, etc. It was a really technical course, not massive, but tricky.”

Earlier in the day, Laura Renwick and perennial Norwegian visitor Geir Gulliksen made it through to the fifth and final round of the Six Bar, at which point they opted to share the spoils rather than jump again.

The temperature in London might be colder than Irishman Darragh Kenny is used to – he’s mainly based in Florida – but he found a warm welcome on his first visit to Olympia and notched up a second victory here, in the Holly Speed Stakes on the 11-year-old mare Fixdesign Funke van’t Heike with a clear in 46.78 seconds.

William Funnell, riding Billy Angelo, was the first to break the 50-second barrier with a smooth round in 47.92 seconds, and managed to hold on to second place with none of the 11 riders after Darragh managing to trouble the two leaders.

“This show is amazing,” said Darragh. “The mare has gone really well for me this week. She has a big stride so there were a couple of places where I could do one less stride than William, such as coming down to the last where he did seven strides and I did six.”

Jodie Hall McAteer took no prisoners in the Mince Pie Stakes by setting a tough target from first draw in the competition for 148cm ponies with Tixylix. The 16-year-old, who was riding in her penultimate pony competition, encouraged all of those who followed her to chase her time, and all paid the price for their risks with poles on the floor.

“We know each other so well. I completely trust her,” said Jodie. “Even if I miss, Tixylix will still try and jump the fence. If I am able to find a horse like her, I’ll be away.”

And the Nick Skelton story was kept alive when Clare Whitaker presented him with the Ryan’s Son Trophy in the main arena, the perfect climax to five days of sell-out show jumping sport.

Having only been competed under saddle since last year, Uphill James Fox took the Blue Chip Native British Show Pony Society Supreme Championships, the first Welsh section A to do so.

The eight-year-old stallion scored a total of 181 marks out of a possible 200, given by four judges – two marking out of 50 for conformation (Mr Price Jones and Mr Stephen Howard), and two marking out of 50 for performance (Mrs Sharon Thomas and Mr Kevin Walker).

His rider and producer, Katie Marriott-Payne, was also victorious in this championship in 2003 with Stowbrook Jenny Wren – the first Exmoor Pony to take the title – so this competition was a particular aim.

“I set myself a goal of winning this with him,” said Katie, who is based in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire. “It’s been a dream come true because you can only see how they react to the atmosphere when they get here; it’s not something you can recreate.”

The Reserve Supreme Champion, the home-produced Highland stallion Benbreac of Croilla, owned by Mrs Mel Stanford and ridden by Matthew Cooper, caused some pre-show stress for his owner as his coat took a bit of preparation.

“We’ve had thermometers under his rug connected to an app on my phone and all sorts,” said Mel, who has been hacking him out to keep him fit after the end of the outdoor show season. “It wasn’t quite looking right, but all came good about 48 hours ago.”

Further highlights of the day include The Kennel Club Medium Dog Agility Finals, Sian Illingworth and her partner AG CH Arnpriors Made of Honour, were cheered on by the crowd as they took home the victory.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Telford, Revolution Sports + Entertainment
gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk
0203 176 0355
www.olympiahorseshow.com

Harrie Plays It Cool on Great Day for British Show Jumping

H&M day at Olympia, The London International Horse Show, will be memorable as a great day for British Show Jumping, but the very last class fell to a Dutch rider, Harrie Smolders, who proved that the patient approach can win the day when capturing the H&M Ivy Stakes.

Earlier, Scott Brash and Ben Maher scored a British one-two in the Longines FEI World Cup™ qualifier presented by H&M, 12-year-old Madison Heath won the H&M Mistletoe Stakes and Anna Power partnered Annie Gibson from Northern Ireland to take the H&M Pony Club Mini-Major. To top things off, Olympic champion Nick Skelton scored a great result when finishing third in BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

Madison Heath made the most of her last ride on Red Alert III by taking the H&M Mistletoe Stakes for 128cm ponies with a superbly fast and thrilling round.

“I just thought ‘go for it’,” said Madison, 12, who just missed out on clinching this title in both 2014 and 2015. “I was a bit wary of the double of uprights, as I had had them down in the past, but I trusted her to do it.”

The seasoned mare has already been sold to international show jumper Geoff Luckett for his children. “We have had her for five years, with my sister Bobbie riding her before me,” said Cheshire-based Madison. “She has never let us down.”

International rider Laura Renwick was watching and praised the youngster. “I have ridden with Madison in relays before and she’s very competitive,” said Laura. “Today she rode with maturity, used her head, and was absolutely spot on.”

Ponies took to the stage earlier in the day, too, in the H&M Pony Club Mini-Major, a relay class in which international riders are paired up with their under-12 counterparts.

Britain’s Anna Power (Chesterfield Z) and 11-year-old Annie Gibson (Lisbox Black Magic), a member of the Iveagh branch of the Pony Club, bettered seven rival pairings to take the top spot.

“It’s the first time I have been to Olympia and it’s absolutely amazing,” said Annie, who lives near Belfast. “Anna told me to go in and just have fun, which is what I wanted to do, and, once I was in there, I just went for it.”

Harrie Smolders was a member of the Netherlands team at the Rio Olympic Games, but this was his first Olympia win. When his four rivals in the jump-off all faulted, a steady clear was all that was required to lift first prize. “My horse is not so fast, so it was the only way to win!” he joked.

He has only been riding his winning mount, the nine-year-old mare Corrada, for two months. “This was a nice competition to win with a new horse – I’ve only had her for two months,” he explained. “She is quite green but a horse can learn a lot here and she is very calm.”

Kevin Staut finished second for France on Unna de Kerglenn with Michael Whitaker third on JB’s Hot Stuff.

Swedish rider Malin Baryard-Johnsson continues to head the H&M leading Rider of the Show table by 17 points from the crowd-pleasing Italian rider Lorenzo De Luca. Ben Maher and Laura Renwick are third and fourth for Britain.

Other highlights of the day included The Kennel Club Large Novice Dog Jumping Grand Prix, which was won by Bonny Busby and Nedlo Moon Lighting and The Kennel Club Large Novice Dog Agility Finals, in which Lee Windeatt and Mendipstar Coy Oaty Snuggly sped to victory by over two seconds from their rivals.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Telford, Revolution Sports + Entertainment
gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk
0203 176 0355
www.olympiahorseshow.com

It’s a British Bonanza as Brash and Maher Are Top Two at Olympia

Scott Brash and Hello M’Lady. (FEI/Richard Juilliart)

Olympia, London (GBR), 18 December 2016 – Scott Brash became the 15th British rider to come out on top in his home leg of the FEI World Cup™ Jumping series when galloping to victory with Hello M’Lady in the Longines qualifier at Olympia in London (GBR). This was the eighth round of the 2016/2017 Western European League, and the result leaves the 31-year-old rider only a few points short of a qualifying spot for the eagerly-anticipated Longines Final in Omaha, Nebraska (USA) next March.

The host-nation runners were in flying form, with Brash’s London 2012 Olympic gold-medal-winning team-mate, 33-year-old Ben Maher, finishing a close second with Diva while young Belgian talent, 23-year-old Nicola Philippaerts slotted into third with H&M Harley vd Bisschop. It was a frustrating result for Maher, who was also runner-up in the same event last year. “I wanted to win, but if I was going to be beaten by anyone I was hoping it would be Scott!” he said.

There were 13 into the jump-off, and it was Sweden’s Malin Baryard-Johnsson who set the pace with H&M Cue Channa who hit only the very last. Seventh to go, Maher produced the first clear in 38.85 seconds before America’s Laura Kraut and Zeremonie and John Whitaker and Ornellaia followed with foot-perfect runs but couldn’t catch him. Philippaerts, whose famous father Ludo won this prestigious competition with the legendary Darco 27 years ago, came close when breaking the beam in 39.07 seconds, but it was Brash who demoted his fellow-countryman when second-last to go.

“Ben was very fast back to the double, and it was on a blind turn which was tricky for the horses, so we had to be quick to beat him!” Brash said, after galloping home in 38.73 seconds. And when it fell apart for Germany’s Marcus Ehning and his Madrid-leg winner Comme Il Faut who were last to go, it was an all-British one-two.

“It’s very special to win in front of the home crowd; they were really behind us and it gives you that extra edge!” said Brash who now has the series Final in his sights. “I’ve never really targeted it in the past because the calendar is so full and there’s often a championship, but I’m very fortunate to have a strong team, all coming back from injury, including Hello Sanctos,” he added.

Full result here

Quotes:

Scott Brash GBR (1st), talking about Hello M’Lady: “She’s a wonderful horse, really talented. She jumped really well in Geneva last week but we were unlucky; you have to get everything right on the day. My next outing is in Liverpool for the New Year; it’s great to get another 4-Star event in our country so I’m very happy to support it.”

Ben Maher GBR (2nd): “Diva jumped great; she loves this show. Congratulations to Scott – I couldn’t have done any more, and I’d have been happy with sixth!”

Nicola Philippaerts (3rd): “It’s fantastic to be sitting here with these two great riders! My horse jumped well and I’m very happy. My father (Ludo Philippaerts) came to help me and it’s a big advantage to have him here at the big shows.”

Kelvin Bywater GBR, Course Designer: “I was extremely pleased; we had good sport and good entertainment. It’s a team effort.”

John Roche, FEI Jumping Director: “Olympia, under the management of Simon Brooks-Ward, ran an amazing event which is one of the flagship fixtures of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Western European League.”

Scott Brash GBR (1st): “The courses nowadays are big and technical and Kelvin (course designer Kelvin Bywater) did a wonderful job but some horses will just skip round whatever the builder puts up!”

Full standings here

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Rider biographies: view online and download from www.fei.org/bios.

By Louise Parkes

Media Contacts:

At Olympia:

Jo Peck
Press Officer
JoPeck@hpower.co.uk
+44 1753 847 900

At FEI:

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 145

Scott’s Lady Is a Champ

Scott Brash thrilled the packed house at Olympia, The London International Horse Show, with a virtuoso performance aboard the fleet-hoofed mare Hello M’Lady to snatch the Longines FEI World Cup™ qualifier presented by H&M by the tiniest of margins.

There were double celebrations when Ben Maher, the last British rider to win this prestigious class, back in 2011, finished second on another mare, Diva ll, by just 0.12 of a second.

On H&M Sunday at Olympia, it was appropriate that Belgian rider Nicola Philippaerts, whose father, Ludo, won this class back in 1988, was third on H&M Harley vd Bisschop.

Thirteen riders from eight nations went through to Kelvin Bywater’s ingenious jump-off track which hinged on getting the sharp angle back to a double on a blind turn and then clearing the upright fence on a curving galloping line.

“Kelvin [Bywater, course-designer] did a great job,” commented Scott. “It was big and technical but, nowadays, the standard is so high that there are horses that will just skip round.”

Only five of the 13 riders achieved a double clear and German maestro Marcus Ehning, who could have spoilt the British party when last to go on Comme Il Faut, racked up a surprising 20 penalties.

US rider Laura Kraut, whose partner Nick Skelton was already en route to Birmingham for BBC Sports Personality of the Year, was fourth on Zeremonie and 61-year-old John Whitaker rode superbly to finish fifth on Ornellaia while crowd favourite Lorenzo De Luca finished sixth for Italy with one rail down on Limestone Gray.

Olympia represents the eighth of 13 legs in the Longines FEI World Cup™ and Scott’s win elevates him 26 places to sixth in the standings and within sight of a place at the final in Omaha, USA, in April.

“I think I will target the FEI World Cup™ Final this year,” revealed Scott. “I don’t very often, because there’s such a full calendar, but I’m very fortunate to have a strong team of horses, some of which are back from injury now – including Hello Sanctos [his Olympic gold medallist] and Hello M’Lady.”

Of Lady Kirkham’s agile nine-year-old mare, Scott commented: “She’s sharp, an exceptional jumper and very much one for the future. It was very special to win in front of a home crowd.”

Ben Maher, the first rider to go clear in the jump-off, could perhaps consider himself hard done by, having set such an exacting standard, but his mare was returning to form and he said simply: “I would have been happy with sixth, quite honestly. Diva loves this show and jumped brilliantly; it’s just great to have her back. Congratulations to Scott – I couldn’t have done any more.”

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Telford, Revolution Sports + Entertainment
gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk
0203 176 0355
www.olympiahorseshow.com