Tag Archives: Show Jumping

Men’s Team Captures 10th Annual Battle of the Sexes at WEF

The final match race was close, but it was Spencer Smith who sealed the win for the men’s team over Maggie Jayne. Photo © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – January 13, 2018 – On the opening “Saturday Night Lights” and in the 10th annual Battle of the Sexes, presented by Wellington Regional Medical Center, the men’s team was victorious for the first time in the history of the class. The event is one of the most popular events at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL.

Teams of ten men and ten women battled it out for this year’s Battle of the Sexes title, with team captains Charlie Jayne and Nicole Bellissimo at the helm. Bellissimo led Heather Caristo-Williams, Amanda Derbyshire, Maggie Jayne, Caelinn Leahy, Abigail McArdle, Chelsea Sundius, Annabella Sanchez, Sydney Shulman, and Alexandra Welles on her team.

Jayne’s team included David Blake, Andrew Bourns, Jordan Coyle, Alex Granato, William Hickey, Darragh Kenny, Luis Larrazabal, Spencer Smith, and Michael Tokaruk.

The contest was held in three phases, consisting of a faults converted speed round, a relay race, and a match race. The men and women were pitted against each other in each phase over courses set by Eric Hasbrouck (USA).

In round one, it was a tie with both teams scoring five points. Ireland’s Jordan Coyle had the fastest time of 49.21 seconds.

Minikus Goes for Gumption in Hollow Creek Farm 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic

Out of 20 entries in the 1.50m Classic, five went clear over a course designed by Eric Hasbrouck (USA), and three of those were double clear. Taking the win in a time of 36.676 seconds was Todd Minikus (USA) on Carlo, a 2006 Holsteiner gelding by Casall x Landlord owned by North Face Farm.

Tina Allen Claims Blue Ribbon Aboard Two Mounts in Osphos® Amateur Owner 3’3” 36 & Over

Saturday’s third class of the day came to a close with Tina Allen, from New Canaan, CT, taking first place honors in both Osphos® Amateur Owner 3’3” 36 & Over jumping classes. Allen claimed the first blue aboard her 7-year-old Westphalian mount, Sinatra, and rode Galaxy, her 12-year-old partner of six years, to victory in the second round over fences.

“I’m thrilled about it,” said Allen. “I made a mistake on each horse in both classes, but I am very happy to come out on top.”

Having recently purchased Sinatra here in Wellington, FL, Allen praised her new grey gelding on his performance.

“This is my third show on him in the 3’3”,” said Allen. “I am ecstatic with him. He is so fun to ride and has a huge stride. He gives you confidence when you go in the ring even though he is so young.”

Equestrian Sport Productions | 561-793-JUMP | news@equestriansport.com | www.PBIEC.com

Jordan Coyle Takes Round One Victory in $35,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup

Jordan Coyle and Eristov. Photo © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – January 11, 2018 – The 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival continued with its second day of competition at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL on Thursday. Jordan Coyle (IRL) rode Eristov, owned by Andrew Kocher, to victory in the $35,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup Round One.

There are two highlight events for week 1 of WEF, sponsored by Wellington Regional Medical Center. They include the $75,000 Battle of the Sexes, presented by Wellington Regional Medical Center, to start the “Saturday Night Lights” series on Saturday, January 13, at 7 p.m., and the $75,000 Rosenbaum PLLC Grand Prix, the first grand prix of the season, on Sunday, January 14, at 2 p.m.

There were 36 entries in the first round of the $35,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup and they competed over a course set by Eric Hasbrouck of the United States. Eleven were clear to continue to the jump-off, to which 10 returned. Coyle and Eristov were fourth in the jump-off order, and had to follow a very quick time set by Todd Minikus (USA) and Victorio 5 of 37.999 seconds.

Equestrian Sport Productions | 561-793-JUMP | news@equestriansport.com | www.PBIEC.com

First International Victory at 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival Goes to McLain Ward

McLain Ward and Hija van Strokapelleken. Photo © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – January 10, 2018 – The 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival started in fine form, kicking off the 12-week circuit of hunter, jumper, and equitation competition at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL. WEF continues through April 1, 2018, and offers more than $9 million in prize money.

There are two highlight events for week 1 of WEF, sponsored by Wellington Regional Medical Center. They include the $75,000 Battle of the Sexes, presented by Wellington Regional Medical Center, to start the “Saturday Night Lights” series on Saturday, January 13, at 7 a.m., and the $75,000 Rosenbaum PLLC Grand Prix, the first grand prix of the season, on Sunday, January 14, at 2 p.m.

Olympic team gold medalist McLain Ward won the opening class of the day, the Douglas Elliman Real Estate 1.45m Jumpers, in the International Arena over a speed course designed by Eric Hasbrouck (USA). He and Hija van Strokapelleken, an 11-year-old BWP mare by Calido I x Azur Depaulstra owned by Evergate Stable LLC, were fast and clear in a time of 69.938 seconds for victory.

Equestrian Sport Productions | 561-793-JUMP | news@equestriansport.com | www.PBIEC.com

Smolders Is the Master at Mechelen

Harrie Smolders and Zinius pictured with FEI President Ingmar de Vos.

Dutchman Harrie Smolders (37) out-paced all comers to win the ninth leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2017/2018 Western European League at Mechelen in Belgium. Riding the 13-year-old gelding Zinius, he set an unbeatable target with a fearless run when fourth to go in a seven-horse jump-off. Runner-up spot went to Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann (36) who has now soared to the top of the league table while Italy’s Luca de Lorenzo (30) lined up third. Smolders was a man with a plan.

“I never won before at Mechelen and I really wanted to do it, so I was totally focused. When I got into the jump-off I just wanted to win. I was never riding for second place so I took the risk by taking a stride out to the last. And this is very special because I came here with all my family – my kids, my wife and my parents – it was an unforgettable moment and I’m very thankful to the crowd. The atmosphere here is always really intense and it gives us even more of a push to show what we can do!” — Harrie Smolders (NED)

This result with Zinius was particularly rewarding because this is a horse that is stepping up to the plate.

“He is still developing, but now that Emerald and Don (his other two top horses) are having a break he gets a chance to show in the biggest classes and he has picked it up very quickly. I’m a bit surprised that he makes it look so easy!” Smolders added.

It was no walk in the park either, with Eddy Geysemans’ tough first-round track getting the better of many of the best in the sport. The time-allowed of 67 seconds saw three miss the cut into the jump-off when picking up just one annoying time penalty, but German ace, Ludger Beerbaum, already had four on the board with Chacon before getting four more for an awkward jump at the last and then hitting the deck when Chacon mistakenly took on part of the double at fence five in the wrong direction. The man who claimed Germany’s first-ever FEI World Cup™ title back in 1993 is under medical care with an open shoulder fracture, and the horse world is wishing him a very swift recovery.

Two more former World Cup champions, Beerbaum’s fellow-countrymen Christian Ahlmann with Taloubet Z and Daniel Deusser with Cornet d’Amour, led the way against the clock with Deusser setting the standard when clear in 40.51 seconds. But Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann and Mary Lou were almost two seconds quicker when breaking the beam in 38.74 to put it up to the rest of them. Smolders wasn’t intimidated, however, stopping the clock on 38.19, so when de Luca and Halifax van het Kluizebos were clear in 39.97 seconds and Frenchman Roger Yves Bost posed no challenge in 42.17 seconds it was game over.

As 2018 begins and with just four of the 13 Western European league qualifiers remaining, the next taking place in Leipzig (GER) on 21 January, Smolders has 25 points on the board and may re-think his new year agenda.

“I wasn’t planning to go to the Final in Paris but now we might have a meeting and set some new goals,” he said. “I will do a few qualifiers anyway and I want to get Emerald out to a few shows, maybe get him ready by Gothenburg (in February) if I can. We will see, but this win is the perfect end to a great year for me!” said the delighted winner.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Seamus Hughes-Kennedy Is First-Ever Winner of FEI Pony Jumping Trophy Final in Mechelen

Seamus Hughes-Kennedy pictured with FEI President Ingmar de Vos. (FEI/Dirk Caremans)

Ireland’s Seamus Hughes-Kennedy wrote his name into the history-books of equestrian sport when winning the inaugural FEI Pony Jumping Trophy™ Final at Mechelen in Belgium.

Riding the 12-year-old mare, Cuffesgrange Cavalidam, the 15-year-old schoolboy had to hold his nerve when in the lead and last to go of the top 10 who qualified for the deciding round.

“I tried to think of it as just another day in the ring but I couldn’t help but be nervous – this is unbelievable!” — Seamus Hughes-Kennedy IRL (winner)

His partnership with his pony, however, has already been marked by his seventh-place finish individually at this summer’s FEI European Pony Championships in Hungary. Runner-up was another of the strong Irish contingent, Abbie Sweetnam with Dynamite Spartacus, while Belgium’s Aaron Tijskens steered Superbre de Laloena into third.

The series is devised along the same lines as the FEI World Cup™ and this first Final more than lived up to expectations. The Irish took early command when team gold and European individual silver medallist, Kate Derwin (Cul Ban Mistress), topped Wednesday’s opener ahead of Hughes-Kennedy in second and Sweetnam in third. A win for Thibeau Spits and Cleostrade on Thursday, however, put this young Belgian on level pegging with Derwin, both going into the finale on a zero scoreline after results were converted into points.

From a start-list of 15, a tough and technical first-round track brought the cream to the very top and with the only clear of the course it was Hughes-Kennedy who went out in front carrying just the four points he collected over the first two competitions. And when Spits disappeared from the reckoning with three fences on the floor and Derwin lost her grip with two mistakes, then it was Sweetnam who was stalking her compatriot, just one point in arrears, while Tijskens was only another two points further adrift going into the second round.

It was gripping, and with no room for error after a clear from fourth-placed Derwin, the three ahead of her all coped with the incredible pressure to hold their places. You could hear a pin drop as, last to go, Hughes-Kennedy set off with his mare who is something of a phenomenon. Cuffesgrange Cavalidam, whose sire Luidam was competed by Irish international rider Billy Twomey, was found by Seamus’ mother Clare running around field as an unbroken 10-year-old.

“She was still green enough this time last year when we did our first 1.30m competition in Millstreet and we haven’t really done a lot, the Spring Tour at home, the European Championships trials and then the Championships – she’s wonderful, she’s always trying to help me, she’s the pony of a lifetime!” — Seamus Hughes-Kennedy IRL (winner)

Talking about the concept of the FEI Pony Jumping Trophy series which has been staged alongside Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping qualifiers in Oslo (NOR), Herning (DEN), Verona (ITA), Lyon (FRA) and Stuttgart (GER) this season, the new champion said, “It’s been brilliant. We learn so much from being around top riders and watching what they do. They talk to us and help us – it’s a great experience!”

FEI Jumping Director, John Roche, said, “The FEI is happy and proud to give these young athletes a platform to show their talent and riding skills, especially with the Olympic Movement’s focus on the development of youth sport right now.” The FEI Pony Jumping Trophy™ Final will return to Mechelen again in 2018.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Zorzi Closes the Show in Style

The Turkish Airlines Olympia Grand Prix provided an exhilarating finale to a fantastic week at Olympia, The London International Horse Show. With 12 riders through to the jump-off, the lead changed several times throughout the class, with Italy’s Alberto Zorzi coming out on top ahead of Harrie Smolders in second and home favourite Michael Whitaker in third. Harrie’s second place was enough to secure his Leading Rider Award, having already won and been placed earlier in the week.

The afternoon session began with the Christmas Stocking Six Bar supported by Olympia, with Emanuele Gaudiano the only rider to jump four clear rounds, ahead of Geir Gulliksen, who just had four faults in the fourth round. The Holly Speed Stakes sponsored by Champagne Taittinger went to a jubilant William Funnell riding Billy Angelo, closely followed by Laura Renwick to make it a British one-two.

The BSPS Ridden Mountain and Moorland Championship sponsored by LeMieux showcased a different breed of horse to that more regularly seen in the Olympia Grand Hall, with palomino Welsh Section B pony, Cadlanvalley Sandpiper, ridden by Katy Marriott-Payne, crowned the winner.

Alberto Zorzi’s Olympia debut ended in the best way possible, with a superb victory in The Turkish Airlines Olympia Grand Prix, the first win in the class for an Italian rider, on Athena Onassis’ Contanga.

Dutchman Harrie Smolders crowned a great year with second place on Zinius, propelling him to the top of the Leading Rider of Show table. Michael Whitaker, the winner two years ago, gave the home crowd something to cheer about with third place and a fast double clear on Jb’s Hot Stuff.

Twelve horses went through to the jump-off but only five jumped double clear, including fourth-placed Maikel Van der Vleuten from the Netherlands on Dana Blue and Australia’s Edwina Tops-Alexander on the ride that took her to third in the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Leg, Inca Boy van T Vianahof.

Alberto said of his 13-year-old mare Contanga: ‘I think she is the best horse in the world, very scopey, very special. The feeling over a fence is amazing. This is an amazing indoor show. I love the Christmas atmosphere and am so happy to be here.”

Ben Maher finished sixth on Winning Good, only an eight-year-old but clearly a talent for the future, enough to put him second in the Leading Rider rankings. Laura Renwick, another who looks to have some promising up-and-coming horses, was fourth and John Whitaker, the hero of Sunday night, was seventh – all excellent results considering the overseas talent that came to Olympia this year.

There was a popular home win in The Holly Speed Stakes sponsored by Champagne Taittinger for William Funnell on the home-produced 14-year-old Billy Angelo, a horse he’s been bringing to Olympia for seven years.

“He’s won a fair bit here over that time and he loves the atmosphere,” said William. “He squeals with excitement when he goes into the prize giving.”

Despite getting the better of the rest of the field, William was analysing how he could have gone even better. “We stumbled just a little on a turn which broke the rhythm a bit. Laura [Renwick, who finished second] hadn’t left much room for improvement.”

Earlier, Italy’s Emanuele Gaudiano riding Jamar d’Ysenbeeck Z was the sole survivor after four rounds in the Christmas Stocking Six Bar to claim the win.

“My horse hasn’t had that much international experience,” said Emanuele, who cleared 1.80m to take the class, “but he has gone well today.”

Allana Clutterbuck, 16, had a night to remember when she won her first Olympia class, The Mince Pie Stakes for 148cm ponies riding Atomic Du Barry.

Seven riders got through to the jump-off, but Allana was the only one to achieve a double clear and her time of 29.06 was 3.36 seconds faster than runner-up Tahnia Jordan-Jones on Jumper.

Atomic Du Barry is the latest in a family of ponies ridden by Allana – she has ridden six from the same dam, all bred in France, including her European Pony Championships silver medallist.

The 12 native pony breeds made for a spectacular sight in the Olympia Grand Hall, but it was an overwhelmed Katy Marriott-Payne who won The BSPS Heritage Mountain & Moorland Ridden Championship sponsored by LeMieux for the second year running, this time with a palomino Welsh Section B pony, Cadlanvalley Sandpiper, by Eyarth Troy, bred by Mr & Mrs Davies.

“This pony gets under my skin, which is why I’m so emotional,” explained Katy. “This is his seventh time at Olympia and we nearly gave him a winter break, but the bigger the occasion, the better he goes.”

Rebecca Penny was reserve champion with Lynnuck the Snowman, a Welsh Section C by Caerneuadd Hywel, owned and bred by Lynne Scott.

To find out more about Olympia, the London International Horse Show, visit www.olympiahorseshow.com.

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

Super Sunday at Olympia

Photo: Julien Epaillard aboard Toupie de la Roque.

The Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Leg provided an afternoon of exhilarating sport in the Olympia Grand Hall, with only four of the 36 starters jumping a clear in the first round. As the penultimate to go in the jump-off, Britain’s Scott Brash set the packed crowd alight, jumping clear in a time which looked like it could be the winning round. However, the notoriously speedy Julien Epaillard, riding Toupie de la Roque, knocked Scott off the pole position to take the victory by 0.43 seconds.

The day kicked off with The Pony Club Mini-Major, which went to 11-year-old Poppy Deakin and the in-form Laura Renwick, with ponies also taking to the fore in the opening class of the evening session, The Mistletoe Mini Stakes, which was won by Rachel Proudley.

The evening CSI5* class, The Ivy Stakes, proved to be another challenging content, with just six clears through to the jump-off; however, a speed masterclass from John Whitaker secured the victory, ahead of Ben Maher and Laura Renwick, to make a British one-two-three.

Away from the world class sporting action, The Kennel Club Large Novice Dog Agility Final was won by Sara Bacon with Tynevermoor Torque, and the two Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand Nationals of the day went to Madeline Reeder Smith and Zak Kent.

John Whitaker’s assiduous scrutinising of the jump-off course for The Ivy Stakes paid off in spades as he found the most audacious turn which had the crowd roaring their appreciation.

The cheers became deafening as his winning time of 33.17 seconds flashed up, signalling the 62-year-old’s second victory of the week on his own and wife Clare’s 15-year-old stallion Argento.

It was a thrilling end to a great day’s sport with a British one-two-three, Ben Maher second on Madame X and Laura Renwick third on MHS Washington, with the younger riders all quick to acknowledge a genius ride.

“I studied the course carefully because I knew Kevin [Staut, eventual fourth on S&L Through the Looking Glas] was last to go and I had to do something,” explained John, who has been competing here for four decades.

“It shows what a good horse he is because when we did the sharp turn the crowd gave a big cheer and that could have put him off. This show is special, with the crowds and Christmas and everything. It’s a great feeling and I feel lucky to still be in the sport.”

Poppy Deakin, 11, secured the win in The Pony Club Mini-Major relay that had previous escaped both of her sisters, Daisy and Kirsten.

“I wanted to come here and do better than them,” said Olympia first-timer Poppy with a cheeky smirk.

Riding 16-year-old Munsboro Plunkett, and partnering Britain’s leading lady rider Laura Renwick (Shiraz II), the Tynedale Pony Club branch member perfectly executed a tight turn back to the penultimate fence to take the class by more than one second.

“Poppy knew what she was doing,” said Laura. “I gave her hardly any advice. She was telling me how she was going to ride the course and she did what she said she would.”

Later on, North Yorkshire’s Rachel Proudley finally claimed her dream of winning The Mistletoe Mini Stakes with Painted Lady IV at the fourth attempt. “It’s my favourite show and it’s my last year riding her,” said Rachel, 12. “She’ll be staying in the family though, as she’ll now be ridden by my sister, Sarah.”

To find out more about Olympia, the London International Horse Show, visit www.olympiahorseshow.com.

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

Julien Epaillard Is Roque Solid in Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Leg

Julien Epaillard, riding Toupie de la Roque, became only the second Frenchman in history to win the Olympia leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping, thanks to a spectacular burst of speed in the jump-off which relegated last year’s winner, Scott Brash, to second place.

“It is a great honour for me to win at Olympia,” said the 40-year-old, who was 0.43 seconds faster than Scott. “It was a very difficult course, very technical – you needed scope but also great control.”

Course-designer Guillaume Jorge, who officiated at the Rio Olympics last year, set the high-quality field, which included six of the world’s top 10 riders, quite a challenge, and it wasn’t until the 21st to go, European Champion Peder Fredricson on H&M Christian K, that there was a clear round.

Australia’s Edwina Tops-Alexander, a wild card entry, followed with another clear on Inca Boy van T Vianahof, a nine-year-old produced in Britain by Tim Wilkes, in only her sixth competition on the horse. The winner here in 2008, she now heads the Longines FEI World Cup™ rankings joint with France’s Kevin Staut, who finished fifth today with just four faults.

Scott, who pronounced the course “challenging, but well thought out and jumpable”, raised the roof with his clear round on the 16-year-old Ursula Xll and hopes were high that he might score the first back-to-back win since Nick Skelton in 1984. However, despite the fantastic jump-off speed of 37.34 seconds, it wasn’t to be.

“I know Julien well and I knew how fast he would go, so fair play to him,” said Scott sportingly afterwards. “Ursula was fantastic and, although I would love to breed a foal from her, while she’s jumping like this, she certainly isn’t ready to retire.”

Scott is now 28th on the Longines FEI World Cup™ Rankings with five legs to go before the final in Paris in April.

To find out more about Olympia, the London International Horse Show, visit www.olympiahorseshow.com.

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

Wins for AP McCoy and Maikel Van der Vleuten on Race Night at Olympia

Jockeys of a different kind stole the show on day four of Olympia, The London International Horse Show. Ten of the most renowned jockeys from the world of flat and National Hunt racing took to the Olympia Grand Hall for the Markel Champions Challenge in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund, with Sir AP McCoy’s team of ‘legends’ coming out on top.

The day kicked off with the Olympia Senior Showing Series Championships sponsored by Anthony D Evans Insurance. Jayne Harper and her 20-year-old black gelding, Crimewave II, triumphed in the ridden section and Alice Stratton and the 13-year-old Welsh Section B gelding Laithehill Pashsa won the in-hand final.

Three CSI5* Show Jumping competitions and a FEI World Cup Driving Leg provided top class international action from start to finish, with Maikel Van der Vleuten taking the pinnacle of the day’s Show Jumping, the 1.60m Longines Christmas Cracker. Meanwhile, showing his Dad how it is done, there was a win for Rocco Dettori in the Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand National.

Cool-headed Dutchman Maikel Van der Vleuten, who has so often set the Olympia arena alight, was victorious again, this time on the 12-year-old bay mare VDL Groep Arera C in The Longines Christmas Cracker when shaving 0.19 seconds off the time of one of the world’s best horsemen, German Olympian Marcus Ehning (Comme Il Faut).

It was an international affair with Frenchman Simon Delestre third on Teavanta ll and another Dutchman, quiet horseman Harrie Smolders fourth on Cas.

There was no home cheer until ninth place, filled by Ben Maher on Don Vito, but the London Olympic gold medallist is now lying third in the Leading Rider of Show table.

In earlier classes, Belgium’s Francois Mathy Jnr set an unbeatable target from an early draw in The Snowflake Stakes, a speed class. Riding Falco van de Clehoeve, he held off a challenge from Britain’s Cayenne Puissance winner Laura Renwick, this time riding MHS Washington.

“Because I was so early to go I was hoping for a finish in the top five, so I am happy about how it finished,” said Francois. “This is the type of class where Falco has been quite competitive. He’s a special horse with a special personality.”

Germany’s Daniel Deusser, winner of the 2014 FEI World Cup Final, triumphed in a nine-horse jump-off in The Keith Prowse Snowman Stakes on SX Hidalgo VG.

Florida-based Amanda Derbyshire was fourth and highest placed Brit on Luibanta BH. Amanda, who is trained by Nick Skelton, and used to compete Olympic champion Big Star as a youngster, admitted that her aim was to be talent-spotted for the British team.

“It’s much warmer in Florida and I did wonder whether I wanted to travel over, but then I thought maybe I’d never get another invitation!” she said. “I was really quite over-excited when I arrived but I’m a bit more relaxed now. It’s fantastic to be here at Olympia.”

A stellar team of legendary jump jockeys trounced the flat jockeys in a thrilling Markel Champions Challenge in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund.

The National Hunt jockeys, trained by Graham Fletcher and headed by the winning-most jockey of all time, Sir AP McCoy, joked that their ages added up to more than 300 years. Their best performance came from Ireland’s Charlie Swann, winner of three Champion Hurdles on Istabraq back in the 1990s, but former champions Peter Scudamore, Richard Dunwoody and John Francome, a former Junior European champion Show Jumper, showed they could still cut it.

The best performance from the flat jockeys, trained by Nick Skelton, came from captain Frankie Dettori, who said: “We gave it our best shot.”

Ijsbrand Chardon, the most experienced driver on the FEI World Cup circuit, treated the Olympia audience to a breath-taking display of rein-handling as he knocked favourite Boyd Exell into second place in the FEI World Cup Driving Leg presented by Dodson & Horrell.

First to go, Exell (AUS) set the bar high and the next four all picked up knockdown penalties. Penultimate to go, Benjamin Aillaud from France, who hasn’t competed in FEI World Cup competition for over a decade, posted a clear round, putting him second, but the Dutchman Chardon, twice a FEI World Cup champion, then took the course by storm, his horses responding to his every command. The win was his by 1.5 seconds, putting him in prime position for tomorrow’s final.

With a new mare in the lead, Chardon felt she was more settled. “Yesterday, she was a little over-awed by the atmosphere which is always so fantastic here. Today her concentration was better. Boyd had set such a standard, but today it all came together for me.”

GB’s representative, Daniel Naprous, whose day job is horsemaster to the display and stunt team The Devil’s Horsemen – recently taking the role of Darth Vader in Star Wars – put up a more assured performance, going clear until towards the end of obstacle two.

To find out more about Olympia, the London International Horse Show, visit www.olympiahorseshow.com.

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

World’s Best Lead the Way at Olympia

Britain’s leading lady rider Laura Renwick put on a spectacular performance to win The Cayenne Puissance in front of a packed-out grandstand with HRH The Duchess of Cornwall as the guest of honour in the Presidents Box.

The afternoon session saw Spaniard Eduardo Alvarez Aznar speed to victory in the opening CSI5* Show Jumping class of the Show, with Australia’s Boyd Exell dominating the Dodson & Horrell Extreme Driving Top Score. The popular Kennel Club Dog Agility returned, with a win for Tracy Moerel and Deutschlander Schnappss in the ABC Dog Jumping Grand Prix and there was an emotional arena appearance by Show charity mascots Teddy and Doris, representing Hannah’s Willberry Wonder Pony Charity.

HRH The Duchess of Cornwall was present to enjoy an action-packed evening of top-class sport and equestrian entertainment, taking to the arena to present the awards for the Musto Inside Edge Stakes, won by Peder Fredricson, accompanied by European gold medal winners Tina Cook and Sophie Wells. The highlight of the evening, The Cayenne Puissance, was a closely contested affair, with Laura Renwick taking the eventual spoils as the only rider to clear the final 7′ 3″ wall.

Laura Renwick was overwhelmed by her spectacular victory on Top Dollar Vl in The Cayenne Puissance. Four riders made it to the fifth round, but Karline De Brabander from Belgium on Fantomas de Muze, Ireland’s Padraic Judge on City Business and 2016 joint winner Holly Smith on Quality Old Joker all faulted and as Laura entered the ring she knew the €7,425 prize was there for the taking.

“That wall is huge and, having seen the other horses hit it, having been jumping really well, I knew it was a big ask,” said Laura afterwards. “I was a little bit lucky – I didn’t have the best stride and the horse really had to use his body to get over it.

“I’ve never won the Puissance outright and so to do it on an eight-year-old horse with not much experience but loads of scope and heart feels amazing. The atmosphere was electric.”

Earlier in the day, Eduardo Alvarez Aznar riding Fidux headed a one-two for Spain in the opening jumping class, the Santa Stakes, holding off a late challenge from his fellow countryman Manuel Fernandez Saro (Cannavaro).

“I was early to go, and Manuel was right at the end. He knew what he had to do but wasn’t quite quick enough,” joked Eduardo, winner of last season’s Zurich Longines FEI World Cup qualifier with Rokfeller de Pleville Bois Margot. “[Fidux] is a real fighter and very quick across the ground.”

This is Eduardo’s second visit to Olympia, where he won the Six-Bar two years ago. “It’s such a fantastic special show, and a pleasure to ride here,” said Eduardo. “I hope to continue to back here for many, many years.”

Later, there was a Swedish one-two in the Musto Inside Edge Stakes, a speed class, when 2017 European Champion Peder Fredricson (H&M Zoulbet) beat compatriot Malin Baryard-Johnsson (H&M Second Chance) by 0.77 sec to clinch the top prize.

The Dodson & Horrell Extreme Driving Top Score competition may act as a warm-up to the FEI World Cup qualifier, but the crowd was treated to a razor-sharp contest. Of the seven drivers, representing six nations, no-one was prepared to give any quarter, but it was reigning FEI World Cup Champion Boyd Exell from Australia who again proved unassailable.

Exell, a seven-time FEI World Cup Champion, already has three qualifier wins under his belt this season. The last driver into the arena, he was one of only two to post a clear round; the other came from Belgium’s Glenn Geerts, but he trailed Exell by some seven seconds.

Exell had a new inexperienced horse in the lead and explained: “He was a bit tired in the second round but he did all I asked of him. I love competing at Olympia – the atmosphere is always superb; it’s like coming home for me.”

To find out more about Olympia, the London International Horse Show, visit www.olympiahorseshow.com.

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