Category Archives: Pony

Tosh and Downey Ride to Championship Rosettes in Green Pony Hunters at USEF Pony Finals

Maddie Tosh and Baroness of Locheil.

Lexington, Ky. – Aug. 9, 2019 – Hunter ponies and their riders returned to the Walnut Ring for the second-to-last day of hunter competition Friday at the 2019 USEF Pony Finals, presented by Collecting Gaits Farm. Two more champions were crowned following successful over fences performances, as Maddie Tosh and Baroness of Locheil hoisted the title in the Medium Green Pony Hunters and Tessa Downey and Sandcastle led the victory gallop as the best partnership in the Large Green Pony Hunters. Additionally, Tosh and Baroness of Locheil were awarded the Grand Green Pony Hunter title as the highest-scoring Green pair of all of the size groups.

Hat Trick for Zone 10 at USEF Pony Jumper Team Championship

Down the road from the action in the Walnut Ring, the pony jumpers took center stage in the Alltech Arena to compete for the USEF Pony Jumper Team Championship title. Young athletes and their ponies returned for the second and final round of team competition, and in the end Zone 10, comprised of team members Hannah Attar, Devi Ferreira, and Tabitha Okistsu, topped the podium to take home gold medal honors for the third year in a row.

Website: www.kentuckyhorseshows.com

Contact: Rebecca Walton
phone 561.753.3389
rjw@phelpsmediagroup.com

Maddie Tosh and Bit of Love Reprise Championship Title at 2019 USEF Pony Finals

Maddie Tosh and Bit of Love.

Lexington, Ky. – Aug. 8, 2019 – It was déjà vu for Maddie Tosh and Bit of Love at the 2019 USEF Pony Finals, presented by Collecting Gaits Farm, on Thursday as the talented partnership defended their title in the Small Regular Pony Hunters ahead of a large field of challengers. The 2018 victors once again proved why they belong at the top of the scorecard, riding to the highest score over fences and in the cumulative standings to emerge victorious for the second time. Tosh had double the reasons to celebrate Thursday as she also led teammate Baroness of Locheil to the initial lead in the Medium Green Pony Hunters with two phases of competition completed. In the Large Green Pony Hunters, Tessa Downey and Sandcastle lead the way prior to the final over fences round to determine the division champion.

Returning as the day one leaders and reigning champions, Tosh and Bit of Love had a target on their backs as the pair to beat in the Small Regular Pony Hunters, which featured 127 entries. The 13-year-old Tosh and Dr. Betsee Parker’s 13-year-old Welsh Pony Cross, Bit of Love, concluded the first two phases of the divisional contest ahead of the closest duo by a slim margin of only six points, meaning they still needed to demonstrate a textbook trip over the course to top the pack and secure overall victory. Not giving in to the pressure, the skilled combination performed perfectly as the final contenders to ride, earning scores of 87.50, 89 and 89 for total over fences marks of 265.5, pushing them to the top of the jumping leaderboard and a composite score of 1,063 to clinch the championship for the second year.

Tosh and Bit of Love are no strangers to USEF Pony Finals, both having competed at the event multiple times. With three appearances under her belt, Tosh has already accrued two major divisional victories two years in a row, adding to her growing list of accolades that includes wins in the Children’s Hunters, Junior Hunters, and equitation. Coming from an equestrian family, Tosh is trained by her father, acclaimed rider and trainer Hunt Tosh, out of Alpharetta, Georgia, and has been riding “Chester” for three years.

Website: www.kentuckyhorseshows.com

Contact: Rebecca Walton
phone 561.753.3389
rjw@phelpsmediagroup.com

Samantha Takacs and Annabelle Brown Start Strong at 2019 USEF Pony Finals

Samantha Takacs and Brighton.

Lexington, Ky. – Aug. 6, 2019 – Hundreds of ponies descended upon the Kentucky Horse Park once again for the first day of competition during the annual installment of the 2019 USEF Pony Finals, presented by Collecting Gaits Farm, to mark the event’s 52nd year. The most celebrated event of its kind for pony riders in the United States, the USEF Pony Finals is a three-phase competition judging the pony’s conformation, way of moving, and jumping ability. With blue ribbons in both the model and under saddle phases, Samantha Takacs and Brighton emerged as the early frontrunners ahead of a pack of nearly 150 pairs in the Large Regular Pony Hunters, while Annabelle Brown and Sunshine Kid topped the leaderboard in the Small Green Pony Hunters.

Hailing from Oldwick, New Jersey, Takacs is no stranger to the winner’s circle or the pressure of leading a division head into the over fences portion of competition. In 2018, the now-14-year-old rider modeled and hacked Galianna to the day one lead in the Medium Green Pony Hunters, eventually securing the overall championship following an exemplary over fences performance. Similarly, Ellie Sadrian’s Brighton is a returning champion, boasting two major accolades from the 2018 event. With the highest cumulative score of the six divisions, Brighton reigned supreme with rider Kat Fuqua to capture the Grand Regular Pony Hunter championship title, along with the rosette in the Large Regular Pony Hunters. The partnership will jump last Wednesday as the current leaders with 544.27 total points, comprised of their scores of 266 in the model and 278.27 in the under saddle.

In the Small Green Pony Hunters, Brown nabbed the top spot on the overall scorecard with Sunshine Kid, owned by Alina Glover. Earning 258.55 points in the model, the duo was awarded second place out of a pack of 44 challengers and later returned to the Walnut Ring to with a score of 248.25 and fourteenth place in the under saddle. Sitting on a cumulative tally of 506.80 points, Brown and Sunshine Kid lead the division by just one point ahead of a hotly-contested field and will aim to retain their momentum during Wednesday’s third phase of competition.

Website: www.kentuckyhorseshows.com

Contact: Rebecca Walton
phone 561.753.3389
rjw@phelpsmediagroup.com

Kierstin Antoniadis Wins Tricolor Ribbon in USHJA Pony Hunter Derby East Coast Championship

Kierstin Antoniadis and Pokerface.

Lexington, Ky. – Aug. 4, 2019 – Ponies took over the Rolex Stadium on the final day of the Kentucky Summer Class with the prestigious USHJA Pony Hunter Derby East Coast Championship. A total of 98 horse-and-rider combinations navigated the course that featured a collection of obstacles simulating those reminiscent of the hunt field such as brush, logs, and gates. After impressing the panel of four judges in both the Classic Hunter style course and the Handy Hunter course by earning a total score of 175, Kierstin Antoniadis and Pokerface rode away with the championship tricolor ribbon. Vivian Golden received the reserve championship honors on Renaud Farm LLC’s Hidden Springs Waltz with a total of 168.87 points.

Madison Kondracki and Magic Beans Make Magic to Win Pony Jumper Championship

Jumper action closed out the final day of the Kentucky Summer Classic with the presentation of the Pony Jumper championship in the Walnut Ring. Madison Kondracki dominated all three classes of the division on her pony, Magic Beans, to win the tricolor ribbon, while Hannah Haines guided her mount A Lotta Moxie to the reserve championship.

Website: www.kentuckyhorseshows.com

Contact: Rebecca Walton
phone 561.753.3389
rjw@phelpsmediagroup.com

Stephanie King Crowned Adult Amateur Jumper Champion with Co-Starr at Devon

Stephanie King and Co-Starr. Photo: The Book LLC.

Devon, Pa. – May 27, 2019 – After two top finishes on Sunday and earlier in the day on Monday, Stephanie King of St. Augustine, Florida and her own Co-Starr rode away with the win in the $7,500 NAL/WIHS Adult Amateur Jumper Classic, sponsored by Equifit, to secure the 2019 Adult Amateur Jumper championship, sponsored by Patriot Dealerships, with 25 points at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair. Claiming the reserve championship with 15 points was Lexi Maounis and her own Roos.

Amanda Steege Starts Strong in Green 3’9″ Hunter Division with Lafitte De Muze

Monday marked the start of Senior Week at the 2019 Devon Horse Show and Country Fair, where professional hunter athletes kicked off competition in the Dixon Oval with the Green Hunter divisions. Leading the way in the Green 3’9″ Hunters, with a total of 18 entries, was Amanda Steege and Lafitte De Muze, who dominated both over fences classes to take home two Devon blues.

Rebekah Robinson Wins Single/Pair Pony Driving Championship

Memorial Day at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair concluded with the naming of the Single/Pair Pony Driving championship winner, sponsored by Patriot Dealerships, and the recipient of the Joseph M. Pierce Challenge Trophy, donated by Holly Ventures. Rebekah Robinson earned the tricolor with her Saylor Wagon, owned by Mrs. Collin F. McNeil, after accumulating 13 points throughout the division. Robinson claimed fifth place in the Single/Pair Pony – Pleasure Turnout and took home the top prize in the Single/Pair Pony – Scurry Driving competition on Monday evening in a blazing fast time of 54.949 seconds, outpacing the runner-up finisher by four full seconds.

For more information, visit www.DevonHorseShow.net.

Media Contact: Rebecca Walton
Phelps Media Group, Inc. International
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386
info@phelpsmediagroup.com

Unprecedented Number of Entries Expected for CHI Royal Windsor Horse Show

This year, Organisers have added more classes to the 76th annual CHI Royal Windsor Horse Show giving a total of 147 Showing classes – the highest number in recent years. The best of the Brits are expected to compete at the iconic venue and it is anticipated that it will attract the largest number of entries yet.

Over 55,000 spectators will visit the famous showgrounds set in the private grounds of Windsor Castle from 8-12 May 2019 for five days of unmissable competition. For those hoping to contend, the windows for entries are as follows: Show Jumping, 5-12 March 2019; Showing and Carriage Driving, 7-29 March 2019.

New classes this year include Showing classes for Cleveland Bays (in hand and ridden), an RoR Open in Hand Show Series Qualifier, and In Hand classes for Pure Bred Arabs. New national Show Jumping classes include an Under 25 competition on Sunday. In addition, The Pony Club is running its Dressage Championships at the Show and there will an Oxford – Cambridge Varsity match Dressage competition.

Show Director, Simon Brooks-Ward, said: “Each year we receive the highest standard of entries which is a true testament to the Show, reiterating its importance in the equestrian calendar. With even more added to the Show’s programme this year, it will be extremely exciting to see which competitors shine throughout the week, and which classes are the most hotly contended.”

Britain’s leading competitors will be vying to make an impact in front of the home crowds. Her Majesty The Queen has been a regular contender, having had a number of significant wins over the years.

One of the country’s leading Showing producers, Jayne Ross, who is well aware of what it is like to win at the prestigious Show, commented: “There is an aura about Windsor from the moment you arrive, and if you’re really lucky and you win, you get a fantastic picture of being presented with the trophy with the backdrop of Windsor Castle. There is just nothing quite like it.”

Classes to look out for include:

Wednesday 8 May

Equitop Myoplast Senior Foxhunter
National 1.30m Open Jumping Competition
Land Rover National 1.40m Open Jumping Competition
Hunters
Hackneys
Senior Horses / Ponies, In Hand and Ridden
Cleveland Bays
Ridden Part Bred and Anglo Arabs
RoR, In Hand

Thursday 9 May

Senior 1.35m and 1.45m jumping
Working Hunters
Inter Hunt Team Knockout
Light Trade Turnouts
Polo Pony
Coloureds
Private Driving
Ridden Pure Bred Arabs
In Hand Pure Bred and Part Bred Arabs
RoR Ridden

Friday 10 May

Senior 1.35m Grand Prix
Grades B and C Jumping Competition
Mountain and Moorlands In Hand
Hacks
Cobs
Sword, Lance, Revolver, and Tent Pegging
Coaching Marathon
Pony Club Dressage

Saturday 11 May

The Oxford-Cambridge Varsity Match
Land Rover Inter Schools Show Jumping Competition
Land Rover Services Team Jumping
Senior 1.45m Grand Prix
Mountain & Moorland Ridden
Mountain and Moorland Working hunters
Show Ponies
Child’s Leading Rein and First Ridden
Mountain & Moorland Lead Rein, First Ridden

Sunday 12 May

Under 25 Jumping Competition
The Champagne Laurent-Perrier Meet of the British Driving Society
Pony Club Show Jumping Competition
University Jumping Challenge
Working Hunter Ponies
Show Hunter Ponies
Riding Horses
Purebred and Part Bred Portuguese Lusitanos, Ridden (English)
Side Saddle Concours d’Elegance
Purebred and Part Bred Spanish Andalusian, Ridden (English)
Appaloosas, In Hand and Ridden

More information on how to enter can be found here.

To book tickets for Royal Windsor Horse Show, visit www.rwhs.co.uk. Tickets can also be purchased by calling the box office on 0844 581 0755 from the UK and +44 (0)121 7966 290 internationally. Windsor residents should call the Windsor Information Centre on 01753 743 589.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Jenkins / rEvolution / gjenkins@revolutionworld.com / +44 (0)203 176 0355

Australian Champion Bint Marscay Euthanized

Bint Marscay at Old Friends (Photo: Laura Battles)

GEORGETOWN, KY – JANUARY 29, 2019 – 1993 Golden Slipper winner Bint Marscay has died. The 28-year-old mare, who resided at Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement Farm in Georgetown, KY, was euthanized Monday evening due to complications of chronic arthritis.

Bred and campaigned in Australia, the daughter of Marscay (AUS) out of the Sir Tristram mare Eau D’etoile (NZ), had 10 starts Down Under, winning four of them.

A champion 2-year-old, the outstanding filly won the Kindergarten Stakes at Warwick Farm and the Magic Night Stakes (GR2) at Rosehill before capping her champion status with a win in the Tooheys Golden Slipper Stakes (GR1).

Bint Marscay retired from racing in 1994 with career earnings of $1,034,821.

As a broodmare Bint Marscay foaled three stakes winners, including Bollinger, who won the Coolmore Classic (GR1) and later foaled Kentucky Derby contender Friesan Fire.

Relocated to the U.S. at Vinery, Kentucky, Bint Marscay was plagued by reproductive issues and did not produce a foal after 1999. She was retired to Old Friends in 2013.

“I am saddened to hear of the passing of Bint Marscay,” said longtime trainer Richard Freedman via email. “She was one of the greatest 2-year-olds to race in Australia, and she remains a yardstick by which Australian 2-year-olds are still measured today. She gave me, my family, and her racing connections so much joy.

“I thank Old Friends for taking such loving care of her in her retirement; she deserved no less,” Freedman added. “Her final years were happy, and her passing was peaceful. RIP old girl; you will be remembered.”

“She was a wonderful race mare, a wonderful broodmare, and a wonderful retiree,” said Old Friends’ Michael Blowen. “We’re so thankful to Vinery for donating her to Old Friends and allowing us to care for her in her final years.

“She was deeply loved by everyone here,” Blowen continued, “but especially by our dear friend and resident photographer Laura Battles. She was Binty’s ‘special person,’ who doted on her every single day. They had a very special relationship.”

“Bint Marscay just stole my heart three years ago,” said Battles, “and she took a big chunk of it with her when she left us yesterday.”

For more information, please call (502) 863-1775 or visit the website at www.oldfriendsequine.org.

MEDIA CONTACT: Cynthia Grisolia, (347) 423-7322, cindy@oldfriendsequine.org; Michael Blowen (502) 863-1775, michael@oldfriendsequine.org

Power Brings the Honours Back to Ireland Once Again

Katie Power (centre), Red Morgan (left), and Nicole Lockhead Anderson (right). (FEI/Dirk Caremans)

Britain’s Morgan and Lockhead Anderson finished second and third

For the second year running, Ireland stood top of the podium when Katie Power stormed to victory with Ghost Rider in the FEI Ponies’ Jumping Trophy Final at Mechelen, Belgium. In a thrilling deciding class that went right down to the wire, the 15-year-old from Dungarvan in County Waterford produced the only double-clear performance to leave the result beyond doubt.

Britain’s Red Morgan (14) with Bodyssee des Avelines and Nicole Lockhead Anderson (16) riding Gangnam Style ll finished second and third, while Sweden’s Ebba Danielsson, who is only 12 years old, lined up in fourth place with Dynamite Spartacus.

“In the last round I was lying second and I knew I had to go clear. Red was in the lead but he made a mistake and I won – I can hardly believe it!” — Katie Power (IRL)

Power finished tenth individually and was a member of the Irish team that just missed out on bronze at the FEI European Pony Championships at Bishops Burton (GBR) this summer.

At the inaugural FEI Ponies’ Jumping Trophy Final 12 months ago, Ireland’s Seamus Hughes-Kennedy reigned supreme, and the Irish came out in big numbers again this year with Power lying third after the three qualifying legs staged in Herning (DEN) and Lyon (FRA) in October and at Stuttgart (GER) in November. It was Portugal’s Molly Hughes Bravo who topped the leaderboard going into the Final, with Ireland’s Max Wachman, Power, Charlotte Houston, and Aisling McGuinness filling the next four places, and Britain’s Shaunie Greig in sixth ahead of compatriot Lockhead Anderson in seventh place. But there was a big shake-up of the standings during the week.

There was plenty of pressure in the preliminary classes, and it was Lockhead Anderson, a member of the European gold medal winning British side at Bishops Burton, who came out on top in Thursday’s first speed competition in which Power finished eighth. In Friday’s second qualifier it was Morgan who headed the line-up, with Power again down the line in seventh spot.

But her pony, the 16-year-old Irish-bred grey gelding Ghost Rider, is a veteran at this level of competition and just kept improving. He seemed to know that this was the day, and never touched a pole to clinch it. “Day one was not very good because my helmet slipped and I had two fences down. Day two was better with only one down, and today my pony jumped amazing!” Power explained.

Mechelen Sport Director, Peter Bollen, explained the concept of the FEI Jumping Ponies’ Trophy.

“This series was created to help pony riders and young riders to get to a better level. The first year was not easy, but now we have a lot of riders willing to compete and they learn a lot by going to shows alongside the 5-Star riders.” — Peter Bollen (Sport Director, Mechelen)

He had some exciting news about the future of the series which will, once again, conclude at the Belgian venue next December. “In 2019 there will be four qualifiers, because the December show in Paris will join the series,” he confirmed.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

An Exell-ent Day for the FEI Driving World Cup

FEI Driving World Cup™ Presented by Dodson & Horrell was won by Australia’s Boyd Exell in a gripping two round competition.

The Martin Collins Enterprises Christmas Tree Stakes was won by Daniel Deusser (GER) riding Cornet.

The afternoon performance of the Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand National was won by Archie Gubb riding Gruntness Inogee and the evening performance by Poppy Dadson riding Merkisayre Sea Duble.

The Kennel Club Large Senior Dog Agility Finals was won by multiple Olympia champion Natasha Wise and Pebbles.

Exell Sets the Standard Again

The world’s most outstanding four-in-hand driver, Boyd Exell, crowned an exemplary week of Extreme and FEI World Cup™ driving competition with a win in the final round of the FEI Driving World Cup™ presented by Dodson & Horrell.

“I’m so pleased with my horses,” the Australian driver and trainer said. “Five years ago I had a superb team and I’ve spent the intervening years trying to replicate it. With the two new horses I’ve recently put in to the mix, I feel I’m really getting close. They just get faster and faster.”

Experienced Dutch driver Koos de Ronde, who has competed every year since driving became part of the Olympia programme, was Exell’s closest challenger after the first round, with Belgian Glenn Geerts in third place.

These three returned for a drive-off, which got off to a dramatic start when one of Geerts’ horses slipped turning to come off the bridge. Driving is a close-knit community and fellow competitors flew to help; happily, all four horses were up in moments and the Olympia crowd showed their appreciation by giving Geerts a standing ovation.

Quickly regaining his focus, de Ronde drove a proficient round, bettering his time but picking up a 4-second penalty. Exell again put his foot to the floor to drive his fourth clear round, knocking three seconds off his first-round time to take the victory and extend his lead in the rankings.

“Olympia was very brave to agree to stage this competition eight years ago, but it has been so well supported by Dodson & Horrell and Hugh and Karen Scott-Barrett. The drivers love it; it’s a highlight of the World Cup calendar and it’s an honour to be here.”

British competitor Daniel Naprous, whose stunt work can be seen in Wonder Woman, The Crown, and Peaky Blinders, has steadily improved his times during the week and finished fifth overall.

Cornet Hits a High Note

Germany’s Daniel Deusser, the world number seven, set a fast pace in the jump-off of The Martin Collins Enterprises Christmas Tree Stakes to take the class on the 14-year-old grey Cornet, by the leading jumping sire Cornet Obolensky.

This class bucked the trend, with only four through to the jump-off. First to go, Deusser, who rides for Stephex Stables in Belgium, set a fast pace with a clear in 31.25 seconds. Simon Delestre for France on Conbelleza also left all the fences up but was fractionally slower in 32.07 seconds.

Maikel van der Vleuten was third for the Netherlands on Idi Utopia and William Funnell, who has now moved up to second place behind Geir Gulliksen in the Leading Rider of the Show rankings, was fourth on Billy Diamo.

“I expected there to be more clear rounds, but the track had lots of bends off corners and that seemed to be causing trouble,” explained Deusser, who will ride Cornet d’Amour in the Turkish Airlines Olympia Grand Prix. “Cornet is one of my top horses, but sometimes it’s nice to drop him into a smaller height competition so that it’s easy for him.”

The Voltaire Design Mince Pie Stakes

Earlier in the day, Shaunie Greig travelled all the way from Fife to add a win in The Voltaire Design Mince Pie Stakes to her list of prestigious 148cm victories. Riding Casino Royale VIII, she produced the sole double clear of the class.

Shaunie, 15, was the fifth of the six riders to go in the jump-off and, with no faultless performers before her, there was everything to play for.

“I was aiming for the win, so I needed to go clear, but not too crazy,” she said. “I had watched Purdi Digby [who was first to go] so I knew where to go on the course.”

Nicole Lockhead Anderson riding Gangnam Style ll finished second with a fence down.

Tribute to the Late Tim Stockdale

Saturday came to a moving close with the Whitaker family’s annual presentation of the Ryan’s Son Trophy for services to the sport. This year, with many of his colleagues looking on, it was presented posthumously to Tim Stockdale whose wife Laura and sons Joe and Mark were there to collect it.

Tickets can be purchased at www.olympiahorseshow.com or by telephone on 0844 995 0995.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Jenkins / gjenkins@revolutionworld.com / +44 (0)203 176 0355

Mr Blue Sky Dazzles as Williams and Billot Share Puissance Title

Day three of Olympia, The London International Horse Show attracted a sell-out crowd for The Cayenne Puissance, one of the star attractions of the week-long event. The Puissance title was eventually shared by Great Britain’s Guy Williams (Mr Blue Sky UK) and France’s Mathieu Billot (Dassler), after both pairs cleared the formidable 7ft 4in (2.23m) high ‘red wall’ in the fifth and final round.

The opening day of the Show Jumping competition was certainly one to remember for Darragh Kenny. The 30-year-old Irishman (Cassini Z) first pipped Great Britain’s Robert Whitaker (Catwalk IV) by just one hundredth of a second to take top spot in The Santa Stakes supported by Olympia. Kenny then made it a memorable double after he and his 10-year-old bay gelding, Carlson, fought off a valiant effort from Great Britain’s William Funnell (Billy McCain) to take the honours in The Musto Inside Edge Stakes. The afternoon performance of the Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand National was won by Meredith Reader-Smith and Holydell Poseidon, while the evening performance was won by Poppy Dadson and Merkisayre Sea Duble.

Katie Bradburne Scores a Runaway Victory

British international rider Holly Smith (Grennanstown Sarco Lux Hill) and 10-year-old Katie Bradburne (Runaway Dolly) won the ever-popular Pony Club Mini-Major from the front.

After Smith’s faultless start, Bradburne raced against the clock with the Irish-bred pony her brother, Thomas, had finished third with in this class last year.

“Holly advised me to try not to let my nerves get to me, and act like I was at home… but go a bit faster,” said Bradburne, a member of the Old Berkshire Hunt branch of the Pony Club.

However, Bradburne is well bred when it comes to jumping at speed over fences. She comes from a family steeped in racing history. Her parents are successful former jockeys, Gee Armytage and Mark Bradburne, with her uncle being 1990 Grand National winner, Marcus Armytage.

The Cayenne Puissance

A thrilling Cayenne Puissance class had the crowd roaring with excitement at Olympia, The London International Horse Show when four riders took on the 7ft 4in wall in the fifth and final round.

Only two, however, managed to leave all the bricks intact: Britain’s Guy Williams on Mr Blue Sky UK and French rider Mathieu Billot on Dassler, a horse jumped in the 2017 Cayenne Puissance by Louise Saywell.

The wall was at its highest since 2006, when John Whitaker, Robert Whitaker and Markus Fuchs shared first prize, also at 7ft 4in. Coincidentally, Williams, who lives in France, and Billot had shared the spoils in a puissance class in Rouen recently, jumping the same height.

“C’est magnifique!” said an elated Billot, who was paying his first visit to Olympia.

Williams is considering trying for a record on Mr Blue Sky because he jumps so smoothly. The horse has been taken slowly because of his height and has had some dressage training to calm him. “He makes it look easy but he’s actually quite sharp and nervous and he becomes strong to ride,” Williams explained.

Young rider Alfie Bradstock, riding H.d’Or, and regular puissance specialist Karline de Brabander from Belgium (Fantomas de Muze) also reached the final round but Bradstock hit the wall and de Brabander suffered an unfortunate fall.

Darragh Kenny’s Olympia got off to a splendid start with a double of victories. The Netherlands-based Irishman took the Santa Stakes on Cassini Z and set an unmatchable target of 48.56 seconds on Carlson in The Musto Inside Edge Stakes, a speed class. For good measure, he was also second in the opening Welcome Stakes on Billy Dorito behind Dutch rider Doron Kulpers on Freestyle. “It’s been a great day – it’ll probably all go downhill from here on,” he joked.

Kenny plans to ride Cassini in the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ on Saturday, but might consider Carlson, a new ride, in the Turkish Airlines Olympia Grand Prix on Sunday: “He’s a special horse, competitive and brave. I think he’ll be good.”

The Pony Club Mini-Major, a special class in which Pony Club members have the unforgettable experience of being paired with senior riders in Olympia’s atmospheric arena, was won by Holly Smith and Old Berkshire Hunt member Katy Bradburne, whose parents, Mark and Gee (Armytage), were successful National Hunt jockeys.

Harry Charles may not have won a class, but he collected two awards for the most promising under-25 rider: The Raymond Brooks Ward Trophy, presented by brothers Simon, James, and Nick Brooks-Ward in memory of their father, and a saddle from the Worshipful Company of Saddlers as voted for by members of the British Equestrian Writers’ Association.

Tickets can be purchased at www.olympiahorseshow.com or by telephone on 0844 995 0995.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Jenkins / gjenkins@revolutionworld.com / +44 (0)203 176 0355