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Thursday at Olympia; Smith and Maher steal the stakes!

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Robert Smith pleases the home crowds on the first day at Olympia. Photo by Jenny Abrahamsson.The home crowds got what they paid for when Britain’s Robert Smith went all the way in the 1.50 class aboard Raging Bull Vangelis S (Nonstop x Feinschnitt), with a clear round and a time of 32 seconds in the jump-off. Germany’s Mario Stevens was second with D’Avignon ahead of Peter Charles and Murka’s Nevada with yet another clear round.


The last class of the day – a 1.50 speed class, turned out to be a schooling class for many. Guy Williams had the first clear round on Torinto van de Middelstede. Kevin Staut also rode clear – but slower – on the lovely and super careful Argentinus-daughter Banda de Hus. Robert Smith and WEG-partner Talan didn’t waste any time though, and took the lead with a clear round and the time 47.91. Samantha McIntosh was also clear, as was Simon Delestre on the great Concorde-stallion Oslo du Chalet on 49.06 – the latter being good enough for second place. Home rider William Funnel was also clear with the time of 50.83, as was Lucia Vizzini on Princess to Heart. Top ten winner Steve Guerdat took it easy on Brustor Boy of Kannan, but was also clear. Billy Twomey showed excellent riding aboard WEG-partner Tinka’s Serenade, but was far behind the fast ones. It looked liked it was to be Smith’s second win of the day, but the stylish rider Ben Maher had decided otherwise. He rode an extremely determined round on Oscar IX (Harcos x Animo), and crossed the finish line clear on 45.63. The home crowd went crazy!


Some horses had faults, but still looked exciting; Eric van der Vleuten’s Stakkato-stallion VDL Groep Wallenberg, and Penelope Leprevost’s lovely mare Modena by Dollar du Murier – are two horses probably worth following in the future.


Cian O’Connor won the first international showjumping class, a 1.45, aboard Umberto – a nine year old gelding by Celano. O’Connor was 0.17 seconds ahead of John Whitaker and Dazzle II. Ben Maher was third with Toklund.


In other words it was an excellent start for the British on home soil.  


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