The main class of the last day at Olympia – the Kingsland Grand Prix – was set at 1.60. The course proved to be difficult enough; the fences came fast, and the turn from fence one to two was especially challenging. Out of the 37 riders, ten were clear. If one horse was to mention, it must be Simon Delestre’s 8 year old Concorde-stallion Oslo du Chalet. This horse is amazing to watch, and seems to have total control of his legs at all times. It will be very exciting to follow this horse in the future.
Penelope Leprevost on Myss Valette – a 10 year old mare by Col Canto – was first to go in the jump-off. Penelope had plenty of speed and a good rhythm throughout the course, and gave her mare a real gallop down to the last oxer. The French rider was clear and set the standard with a time of 33.50. It turned out Penelope had put plenty of pressure on the other riders, when none of them were able to catch her. Malin Baryard-Johnsson gave it her best try aboard the lovely H&M Reveur de Hurtebise, but rode more safely to the last and ended up slightly behind on 34.30. The four next riders all had a fence down, two of them fell victim to an FEI vertical on a long line from the first fence. Eric van der Vleuten rode a lovely clear round on his Lux-daughter VDL Groep Utascha SFN, but didn’t push the 9 year old too much – crossing the finish line on 34.71. In the end the time put Eric fourth. Tim Stockdale and his promising Limerick-son Kalico Bay also had one down, while Oslo du Chalet on the other hand seems unfamiliar with how this is even done. The stallion jumped superbly with Simon Delestre, who tried his best to catch Leprevost. Although Delestre rode with no fear and almost without as much as taking one check down to the last oxer, it was not enough. On 34.09 the French rider had to settle for second behind his team mate, but must still have been very satisfied with his magnificent horse.
The first class of the day was a six bar class – supported by Horse Deal. Yet again it was a British win; Robert Smith and Raging Bull Vangelis S topped the class and took home their second victory of the weekend.
In the 1.50 speed class – the Martin Collins Eraser stakes – two British ladies continued their dominance. Ellen Whitaker with Royal Rose – a stallion by Calvados - won on the time 46.47 with a clear round, followed by Laura Renwick on 46.87 aboard her top horse Limelight de Breve. Eric van der Vleuten and VDL Groep Cannelina took the third spot.
All in all, it has been a wonderful week for the British riders on home soil and probably a much needed boost as the Brits haven’t been too spoilt with international victories over the last years. The circus now heads for Mechelen in the week after Christmas.
For full results from Olympia, go to http://www.olympiahorseshow.com/results/