The Rolex FEI World Cup qualifier in London went to Marc Houtzager and Sterrehof's Tamino. The course built by Louis Konickx counted 15 jumps, and included a red wall made as a London bus, inherited from the Olympics this summer. The course finished off with a tricky line causing problems for many of the riders with an oxer out of a corner and then five or six strides down to a triple combination being the last challenge. Out of 35 riders eight of them managed to solve Konickx questions, and went on to the jump-off.
Guy Williams made the home crowds happy as the first to clear round one with Titus (Lancelot x Rex Magna). They were thus also first to go in the jump-off, but fence two fell early as well as the red London bus.
The second rider out in the jump-off was also British. Peter Charles rode the talented ten year old mare Murka’s Odie de Frevent (Urbain du Monnai x Jalisco B), and the two had produced a very good first round. The pair kept up their good performance in the jump-off with a clear round, but the time did not look fast enough to take home the win.
Sweden’s Malin Baryard- Johnsson and H&M Tornesch (Lux x Libero H) were next to go. Malin and Tornesch also produced a beautiful first round and as well as a clear jump-off. The clock stopped at 36.63 seconds, 0,91 seconds faster than Peter.
The next rider to enter the arena was Marc Houtzager and Sterrehof's Tamino (Numero Uno x Farmer). The combination recently won the Gucci Grand Prix in Paris, and proved that they are on great form. They gave the audience a fast clear round nearly two seconds faster than Malin at 34,67, pushing her down to second. Leaving the arena Marc did not look convinced that his round was fast enough though.
Gerco Schröder and London (Nabab de Reve x Chin Chin) were also qualified for the jump-off and once again fighting for a top result. London is not that fast a jump-off horse as he uses a bit more time in the air than some of the other horses. As Gerco tried to speed up to make up for this, two fences fell and they finally ended sixth.
Then it was time for one of the best combinations we have seen this year. In front of the home crowd Nick Skelton and Big Star (Quick Star x Nimmerdor) had a perfect first round and tried their very best to take Marc’s time in the jump-off. Nick had left the brakes by the entrance, but the London Bus came down and with the time 35, 57 they ended as number four.
Lucina Diniz and Lennox (Lifestyle x Grammus) also wanted to win and gave their all in the jump-off. Unfortunately also they had to see two fences fall on their way finally ending seventh.
Penelope Leprevost was the last rider to go with Nayana (Royal Feu x Narcos II). Penelope is known for her beautiful and fast rounds. Today fence number two was not on her side, and Marc Houtzager could celebrate the perfect finish of a great year by adding a World Cup win to Olympic silver and the Gucci Grand Prix to mention his biggest achievements this year.
At the prize giving Marc was obviously very happy with his horse and their successful year. He also admitted that he is a big ABBA fan, but he did not want to reveal to the audience which of the ABBA songs that is his favorite. Today we should think that would be “The winner takes it all!” After his win Houtzager said “It looks like London is the place to be for me! I won team silver at the Olympic Games and now I’ve had my first World Cup win here. It’s a great win for me, and it is especially great because it is the last show of the year!”
For full results go here.
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