The day opened with two wins for one of Britain’s leading lady riders; Laura Renwick. First she took the Christmas Master’s class aboard the Dollar du Murier-son Oz de Breve. As that wasn’t enough she was also on top in the next 1.50 class – this time aboard her top horse Limelight de Breve, a 11 year old mare by Alegretto on whom Laura has enjoyed huge success on. Renwick was just 0.31 seconds ahead of another British lady – Ellen Whitaker on Royal Rose.
The biggest class of day – the Santa Stakes, a 1.60 class – had thirteen clears. The first clear came from Malin Baryard-Johnsson aboard H&M Reveuir de Hurtebise. To other girls followed in the Swedish rider’s footsteps; Julia Kayser and Pherna as well as Lucia Vizzini aboard Princess to Heart were clear. Marc Houtzager rode really well on the stunning Opium, and crossed the finish line on a clean sheet with out as much as a buck during the course. Julien Epaillard/Charetago Z, Billy Twomey/J’taime Flamenco, Michael Whitaker/Little Lady and Robert Smith/Raging Bull Vangelis S also managed to keep the fences intact. But more clears were to come. Finland’s super star Nina Fagerström rode a great clear aboard Mouse, and Phillip Weishaupt was nothing less than a joy to watch on the beautiful 8 year old Monte Bellini – a son of Montender. Simon Delestre has been on form lately, and continued his good riding with a clear round on the lovely Oslo du Chalet. Cian O’Connor was yet again clear, this time on Splendor – as was the stylish Luciana Diniz on As Tarot, whom she rides with only a small bit and rains.
With quite a lot of clears, the jump-off was bound to be fast. The course was reduced to seven fences including a combination. Baryard-Johnsson set the standard with a clear and a time of 37.78, which the two next girls could not match. Houtzager could though, and on 37.14 he took the lead on bouncy Opium – cutting the last turn inside the start line. Epaillard was also clear, but could not match the Dutch rider’s time. Billy Twomey set off in a good pace, and took the same turn as Houtzager. Although Twomey had a small stop included in his turn, he crossed the finish line on 35.95 – and went up in the lead. It looked good enough for the top, but the next riders wanted it otherwise. Michael Whitaker – Billy’s former boss – shaved off 0.03 seconds of the Irishman’s time. None of the riders to come could match this, until Simon Delestre arrived in the arena. In his usual style he managed to steal some time and took the lead with the time 35.87. Cian O’Connor rode fast and determined, and somehow managed to shave off another 0.86 seconds – crossing the finish line on 35.01. This was good enough to take the Santa Stakes home to Ireland, and Cian must for sure be happy with his second win this weekend.
For full results see http://www.olympiahorseshow.com/results/