Olympia spectacular

RIDERS of a different kind stole the show on day four of Olympia, The London International Horse Show before Christmas. 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 CupTM 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 father Frankie how it is done, there was a win for Rocco Dettori in the Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony event.

Skilled Dutchman Maikel Van der Vleuten, who has triumped so often there in the Olympia arena, was victorious again, this time on the 12-year-old bay mare VDL Groep Arera C in The Longines Christmas Cracker when clocking up  0.19 seconds less than 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 Sussex favourite Ben Maher on Don Vito, but the London Olympic gold medallist later climbed to third in the Leading Rider of Show table.

Ben Maher

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 CupTM 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 the unmatchable 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.”

Frankie Detorri show jumping Photo: Olympia

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 CupTM 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 the unmatchable 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.”

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 CupTM 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 the unmatchable 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.”

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