Olympia, The London International Horse Show
Olympia is the only UK Show to host all three FEI World CupTM Qualifiers in Dressage, Show Jumping and Driving. Each performance includes an equestrian competition along with a variety of displays from around the World.
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Olympia, The London International Horse Show is delighted to announce Hannah’s Willberry Wonder Pony as the event’s Official Charity for 2017.
Founded by the late Hannah Francis, a successful young event rider, when diagnosed with a rare bone cancer, the charity aims to support vital research into osteosarcoma, together with granting Willberry’s Wishes to seriously ill people with the aim of enriching their lives through equestrian experiences. Hannah was so touched by the generosity of many in the equestrian world who allowed her to do likewise and was determined to be able to do the same for others.
Supporting Hannah’s legacy, the charity has continued to grow and capture the hearts of the equestrian community, raising £750,000 in public donations within a year of becoming an official charity.
The charity has received an extraordinary amount of support from the equestrian world, particularly the Dressage and Eventing community, including Olympic Dressage star and charity patron, Carl Hester, and International Eventer, Ben Hobday. Hobday completed the cross-country phase of Badminton Horse Trials in 2016 accompanied by the charity mascot, Willberry. Kitty King is the charity’s third patron and has been immensely supportive.
Organisers of Olympia, The London International Horse Show, are proud to be supporting such a fantastic charity that is cherished by so many riders, and equestrian fans alike. The partnership will help raise the profile to a greater audience, and reach the hearts of many more.
Show producer, Simon Brookes-Ward said:
“Hannah’s Willberry Wonder Pony is a great charity that has drawn together so many through a common interest. We hope that the partnership can benefit this cause greatly, not only through increased awareness, but also in terms of fundraising and granting Willberry’s Wishes.”
Charity trustee, Miles Toulson-Clarke, said:
“Working with Olympia is an important opportunity for us to be able to connect with the wider equestrian audience, extending to the Show Jumping world. Hannah would be simply amazed to see the prominence her charity has achieved and this partnership will enable us to continue growing in order to support those like Hannah, and to further the support of vital research.”
The UK’s largest indoor equestrian event will be back in action on the 12 – 18 December 2017. Expect outstanding displays and world-class competition, including two of the world’s greatest jockeys, Sir Anthony ‘AP’ McCoy and Frankie Dettori, going head-to-head in an unmissable battle.
After the thrill of the 2016 Markel Champions Challenge, in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund, organisers are elated to announce its return to the iconic venue as part of the Friday night ‘Race Night’ at Olympia.
The Markel Champions Challenge will see some of Britain’s best ever jockeys switch disciplines to compete in a relay Show Jumping competition, swapping the racetrack for the Olympia arena for an evening of crowd-enthusing entertainment.
The ultimate equestrian showdown will see ‘AP’ McCoy, 20-time Champion jockey and legend of the Jump Racing world, step out of retirement to rival the world’s most famous Flat jockey Frankie Dettori. In a bid to execute their best performance, both jockeys and their subsequent team members will have specialist coaching from top International Show Jumpers as they strive to cruise around the course of challenging Show Jumps.
Sir Anthony McCoy says:
“Last year, I watched from the side lines as my fellow jump jockeys got thrashed by Dettori’s boys. So this year I shall be picking my own team and shall be looking to the greats of the past to help me do this! Whilst we’ll be ultra-competitive, it’s all for such a great cause in the Injured Jockeys Fund.”
The final line-up will be announced in due course as McCoy and Dettori select their teams. As two of the most successful Jockeys in history, there is no doubt they will be seeking to field the most competent team members.
Juliet Redfern, Managing Director of Markel’s equine and livestock team says:
“Markel are so pleased to continue its involvement with the Markel Champions Challenge. As a child I remember watching similar classes so having the opportunity to be involved in resurrecting this concept and bringing it to the public on the Olympia stage was really exciting. Over the past three years the success and support we’ve seen just keeps growing and really helps to raise awareness of the fantastic work that the Injured Jockeys Fund does.”
Lisa Hancock, CEO of the Injured Jockeys Fund says:
“This will be the third year of the Markel Champions Challenge at Olympia, and the jockeys love it as much as the audience. It also serves to highlight the important work the Injured Jockeys Fund does in racing and across the wider equestrian world.”
‘Race Night’ at Olympia will host an entire evening of racing themed excitement featuring top jockeys from the racing world. Spectators can also expect to see appearances from racing legend Bob Champion whose charity, The Bob Champion Cancer Trust, is supported by The Shetland Pony Grand National which will also be in action, bringing racing stars of the future to compete in the fast-flying competition.
The final day of Olympia, The London International Horse Show, saw Daniel Deusser, an Olympic bronze medallist in Rio, win The Olympia Grand Prix in a nail-biting final against some of the world's best Show Jumpers.
Earlier in the afternoon, the sell-out crowd watched over as Darragh Kenny cruised to the top of the leader board in the Holly Speed Stakes, supported by Olympia. Jodie Hall McAteer took control in a lightning round in the Mince Pie Stakes, and Britain's Leading lady rider Laura Renwick shared the Six Bar title with Geir Gulliksen.
FINAL DAY SAW ACTION PACKED WORLD-CLASS SHOW JUMPING
Daniel Deusser (GER) capitalised on a late draw to win the Olympia Grand Prix in splendid style, Longines FEI World Cup™ hero Scott Brash (GBR) finished third and Malin Baryard-Johnsson (SWE) hung onto the top spot in the H&M Leading Rider of the Show rankings at the culmination of a week’s thrilling equestrian sport at Olympia, The London International Horse Show.
The Grand Prix, the final class of the show, attracted a high-class field but only six riders managed to go clear over another brilliantly executed Kelvin Bywater track.
Olympic gold medallist Laura Kraut (USA), first to go in the jump-off, was nearly jumped off Cavalia at the last fence, having hit three rails; German maestro Marcus Ehning had an unexpected two rails down on Gin Chin van het Lindenhof; and both Steve Guerdat, eventual fourth on Corbinian, and Scott Brash, third on Hello Guv’nor incurred four faults.
Edwina Tops-Alexander (AUS) was masterful with a clear round on the inexperienced bay mare California but her time of 52.33 seconds looked infinitely beatable, and so it proved when last to go Daniel Deusser executed a beautifully accurate round on the 12-year-old Equita van T Zorgvliet.
“I had plenty of time to think and I knew exactly what I had to do,” said a visibly elated Daniel, who also won the opening jumping class of the show on Thursday. “I thought it was a difficult class – the fences came up quickly and the jump-off course was tricky, just as in the World Cup yesterday.”
Edwina Tops-Alexander who has a punishing Christmas schedule ahead, with a flight to a show in Doha tomorrow said, “my mare is only nine and this is only her fourth or fifth indoor show, and there’s a lot to contend with, what with the tight arena and snowflakes falling, etc. It was a really technical course, not massive, but tricky.”
Earlier in the day, Laura Renwick and perennial Norwegian visitor Geir Gulliksen made it through to the fifth and final round of the Six Bar, at which point they opted to share the spoils rather than jump again.
The temperature in London might be colder than Irishman Darragh Kenny is used to – he’s mainly based in Florida – but he found a warm welcome on his first visit to Olympia and notched up a second victory here, in the Holly Speed Stakes on the 11-year-old mare Fixdesign Funke van’t Heike with a clear in 46.78 seconds.
William Funnell, riding Billy Angelo, was the first to break the 50-second barrier with a smooth round in 47.92 seconds, and managed to hold on to second place with none of the 11 riders after Darragh managing to trouble the two leaders.
“This show is amazing,” said Darragh, who is flying back to the States tomorrow. “The mare has gone really well for me this week. She has a big stride so there were a couple of places where I could do one less stride than William, such as coming down to the last where he did seven strides and I did six.”
Jodie Hall McAteer took no prisoners in the Mince Pie Stakes by setting a tough target from first draw in the competition for 148cm ponies with Tixylix. The 16-year-old, who was riding in her penultimate pony competition, encouraged all of those who followed her to chase her time, and all paid the price for their risks with poles on the floor.
“We know each other so well, I completely trust her,” said Jodie. “Even if I miss, Tixylix will still try and jump the fence. If I am able to find a horse like her, I’ll be away.”
Clare Whitaker presented the Ryan’s Son Trophy in the main arena to Gary and Beverley Widdowson. It was collected on their behalf by Justin and Kathleen Widdowson who were joined by Nick Skelton, the perfect climax to five days of sell-out show jumping sport.
WELSH SECTION A FOXES THE COMPETITION
Having only been competed under saddle since last year, Uphill James Fox took the Blue Chip Native British Show Pony Society Supreme Championships, the first Welsh section A to do so.
The eight-year-old stallion scored a total of 181 marks out of a possible 200, given by four judges – two marking out of 50 for conformation (Mr Price Jones and Mr Stephen Howard), and two marking out of 50 for performance (Mrs Sharon Thomas and Mr Kevin Walker).
His rider and producer, Katie Marriott-Payne, was also victorious in this championship in 2003 with Stowbrook Jenny Wren – the first Exmoor Pony to take the title – so this competition was a particular aim.
“I set myself a goal of winning this with him,” said Katie, who is based in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire. “It’s been a dream come true because you can only see how they react to the atmosphere when they get here, it’s not something you can recreate.”
The Reserve Supreme Champion, the home-produced Highland stallion Benbreac of Croilla, owned by Mrs Mel Stanford and ridden by Matthew Cooper, caused some pre-show stress for his owner as his coat took a bit of preparation.
“We’ve had thermometers under his rug connected to an app on my phone and all sorts,” said Mel, who has been hacking him out to keep him fit after the end of the outdoor show season. “It wasn’t quite looking right, but all came good about 48 hours ago”.
Further highlights of the day include The Kennel Club Medium Dog Agility Finals, Sian Illingworth and her partner AG CH Arnpriors Made of Honour, were cheered on by the crowd as they took home the victory.
H&M day at Olympia, The London International Horse Show, will be memorable as a great day for British Show Jumping, but the very last class fell to a Dutch rider, Harrie Smolders, who proved that the patient approach can win the day when capturing the H&M Ivy Stakes.
Earlier, Scott Brash and Ben Maher scored a British one-two in the Longines FEI World Cup™ qualifier presented by H&M, 12-year-old Madison Heath won the H&M Mistletoe Stakes and Anna Power partnered Annie Gibson from Northern Ireland to take the H&M Pony Club Mini-Major. To top things off, Olympic champion Nick Skelton scored a great result when finishing third in BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
Madison Heath made the most of her last ride on Red Alert III by taking the H&M Mistletoe Stakes for 128cm ponies with a superbly fast and thrilling round.
“I just thought ‘go for it’,” said Madison, 12, who just missed out on clinching this title in both 2014 and 2015. “I was a bit wary of the double of uprights, as I had had them down in the past, but I trusted her to do it.”
The seasoned mare has already been sold to international show jumper Geoff Luckett for his children. “We have had her for five years, with my sister Bobbie riding her before me,” said Cheshire-based Madison. “She has never let us down.”
International rider Laura Renwick was watching and praised the youngster. “I have ridden with Madison in relays before and she’s very competitive,” said Laura. “Today she rode with maturity, used her head, and was absolutely spot on.”
Ponies took to the stage earlier in the day, too, in the H&M Pony Club Mini-Major, a relay class in which international riders are paired up with their under-12 counterparts.
Britain’s Anna Power (Chesterfield Z) and 11-year-old Annie Gibson (Lisbox Black Magic), a member of the Iveagh branch of the Pony Club, bettered seven rival pairings to take the top spot.
“It’s the first time I have been to Olympia and it’s absolutely amazing,” said Annie, who lives near Belfast. “Anna told me to go in and just have fun, which is what I wanted to do, and, once I was in there, I just went for it.”
Harrie Smolders was a member of the Netherlands team at the Rio Olympic Games, but this was his first Olympia win. When his four rivals in the jump-off all faulted, a steady clear was all that was required to lift first prize. “My horse is not so fast, so it was the only way to win!” he joked.
He has only been riding his winning mount, the nine-year-old mare Corrada, for two months. “This was a nice competition to win with a new horse – I’ve only had her for two months,” he explained. “She is quite green but a horse can learn a lot here and she is very calm.”
Kevin Staut finished second for France on Unna de Kerglenn with Michael Whitaker third on JB’s Hot Stuff.
Swedish rider Malin Baryard-Johnsson continues to head the H&M leading Rider of the Show table by 17 points from the crowd-pleasing Italian rider Lorenzo De Luca. Ben Maher and Laura Renwick are third and fourth for Britain.
Other highlights of the day included The Kennel Club Large Novice Dog Jumping Grand Prix, which was won by Bonny Busby and Nedlo Moon Lighting and The Kennel Club Large Novice Dog Agility Finals, in which Lee Windeatt and Mendipstar Coy Oaty Snuggly sped to victory by over two seconds from their rivals.
Scott Brash thrilled the packed house at Olympia, The London International Horse Show, with a virtuoso performance aboard the fleet-hoofed mare Hello M’Lady to snatch the Longines FEI World Cup™ qualifier presented by H&M by the tiniest of margins.
There were double celebrations when Ben Maher, the last British rider to win this prestigious class, back in 2011, finished second on another mare, Diva ll, by just 0.12 of a second.
On H&M Sunday at Olympia, it was appropriate that Belgian rider Nicola Philippaerts, whose father, Ludo, won this class back in 1988, was third on H&M Harley vd Bisschop.
Thirteen riders from eight nations went through to Kelvin Bywater’s ingenious jump-off track which hinged on getting the sharp angle back to a double on a blind turn and then clearing the upright fence on a curving galloping line.
“Kelvin [Bywater, course-designer] did a great job,” commented Scott. “It was big and technical but, nowadays, the standard is so high that there are horses that will just skip round.”
Only five of the 13 riders achieved a double clear and German maestro Marcus Ehning, who could have spoilt the British party when last to go on Comme Il Faut, racked up a surprising 20 penalties.
US rider Laura Kraut, whose partner Nick Skelton was already en route to Birmingham for BBC Sports Personality of the Year, was fourth on Zeremonie and 61-year-old John Whitaker rode superbly to finish fifth on Ornellaia while crowd favourite Lorenzo De Luca finished sixth for Italy with one rail down on Limestone Gray.
Olympia represents the eighth of 13 legs in the Longines FEI World Cup™ and Scott’s win elevates him 26 places to sixth in the standings and within sight of a place at the final in Omaha, USA, in April.
“I think I will target the FEI World Cup™ Final this year,” revealed Scott. “I don’t very often, because there’s such a full calendar, but I’m very fortunate to have a strong team of horses, some of which are back from injury now – including Hello Sanctos [his Olympic gold medallist] and Hello M’Lady.”
Of Lady Kirkham’s agile nine-year-old mare, Scott commented: “She’s sharp, an exceptional jumper and very much one for the future. It was very special to win in front of a home crowd.”
Ben Maher, the first rider to go clear in the jump-off, could perhaps consider himself hard done by, having set such an exacting standard, but his mare was returning to form and he said simply: “I would have been happy with sixth, quite honestly. Diva loved this show and jumped brilliantly; it’s just great to have her back. Congratulations to Scott – I couldn’t have done any more.”
Saturday's sell-out crowd watched admirably as The FEI World Cup™ Driving Leg presented by Dodson & Horrell took to the arena with Boyd Exell demonstrating an unbeatable performance and taking home the title.
Lorenzo De Luca, the Italian rider who is proving such a hit, won the Martin Collins Enterprises Christmas Tree Stakes and is now second in the H&M Leading Rider of Show rankings behind Sweden’s Malin Baryard-Johnsson ahead of tomorrow’s H&M Sunday.
Jessica Mendoza was masterful when taking the under-23 title; Laura Renwick notched up Britain’s first senior win and the talented young Irishman Bertram Allen triumphed in the Christmas Masters.
Six times champion Boyd Exell triumphs again at Olympia
The world's leading driver Boyd Exell (AUS) showed the enthusiastic full house at Olympia just why he deserves that title. The six times World Cup™ Driving Champion and four times individual gold medallist, drove two peerless rounds in the final leg of the FEI World Cup™ Driving to take the win.
Finishing in third place last night in the qualifying round, behind Hungary's Jozsef Dobrovitz snr and Koos de Ronde (NED), meant Exell took on the course before them. Up until then only one of the four previous drivers - Georg von Stein from Germany - had posted a clear round. Exell showed his intent by driving clear and clipped ten seconds off von Stein's time. Following him, Dobrovitz and de Ronde both drove clear but Exell took the lead by some three seconds.
The top three competed again over a shortened course, starting from a zero score. Dobrovitz lost time at obstacle one attempting a tight turn and then had a knockdown at obstacle two. De Ronde pulled out all the stops and secured a very fast time but in doing so picked up five penalties.
Exell only had to drive clear but that was no barrier to him putting his foot flat to the floor. He galloped home clear two seconds faster than de Ronde to notch up his third win in FEI World Cup™ Driving qualifiers this season, keeping him in the top of the rankings.
All three top drivers paid tribute to the highly-charged atmosphere at Olympia where the crowd are so enthusiastically engaged with the competition.
"I feel on home ground here," remarked Exell who moved from the UK to Holland two years ago.
"That does increase the pressure for me but equally we are all lifted by the crowd. The Show is the one we want to be at." A sentiment endorsed by Dobrovitz competing here for the second year running.
Daniel Naprous (GBR) who finished fourth yesterday, remarked, "Olympia gives British drivers the most wonderful platform to compete against the best in the world. They are so welcoming to us and we are getting better as a result. It's a thank-you to Olympia."
Lorenzo Performs an Italian Job
Italian rider Lorenzo De Luca brought the crowd to their feet with a stunning performance in the jump-off of the Martin Collins Enterprises Christmas Tree Stakes.
The Olympia crowd have taken the young Italian to their hearts this week and he did not disappoint, pulling off an audacious round on the white-faced chestnut by Heartbreaker, Halifax van het Kluizebos, to clinch victory from his Stephex Stables team mate Daniel Deusser on Hidalgo VG.
The competition involved a timed first round from which 14 went through to the jump-off. Ben Maher put up a spirited challenge to finish third and best British on the eight-year-old Don Vito.
Lorenzo, a member of the Italian Air Force, is trained by Dutchman Henk Nooren and is based in Brussels with the Stephex Stables. This is his first appearance at Olympia. He will ride Limestone Grey in tomorrow’s Longines FEI World Cup™ Qualifier presented by H&M and Halifax in Monday’s Grand Prix.
“Halifax is very fast and careful and he wants to do his best,” said Lorenzo, 29, who is 17th in the Longines FEI World Rankings. “This is a super show. Everyone told me it was great, but now I know. It’s a proper horse show.”
The Italian star is now second in the H&M Leading Rider of the Show rankings, 18 points behind the runaway leader, Sweden’s Malin Baryard-Johnsson, ahead of tomorrow’s H&M Sunday.
Laura Renwick Delights British Fans
Laura Renwick secured Britain’s first outright show jumping win of the week in The Shelly Ashman International
Ltd, E M Rogers (Transport) Ltd Father Christmas Stakes. This was an accumulator competition in which a clear jump over a fence accrues points, with a final optional joker fence offering a tempting double, its easier counterpart.
Remarkably, Laura has only ridden her winning partner, Con Chilli, for just two months. “She’s usually ridden by Yazmin Pinchen, but I have the ride on her as Yazmin is pregnant,” Laura explained. “The other two horses I have here are also Yazmin’s, but this will only be my second show with those. They are all going really well here and I am very fortunate to have them.”
Laura was also in the final shake up of The Christmas Masters, in which the top seven leading riders of the show so far were eligible to compete.
In this class, riders nominate a fence to go up before they jump. If they jump it clear, the prize pot increases by £500; if not, the prize fund stays the same and the fence is dropped back to its previous height. After each round, all those still clear jump again until the fifth and final round, in which the jump-off is against the clock.
Laura (Dominant H), Sweden’s Malin Baryard-Johnsson (H&M Indiana) and Irishman Bertram Allen (High Valley) remained after four rounds, and went head-to-head for the winner-takes-all purse of £14,000.
Unfortunately, first-drawn Laura finished on four faults, but Bertram posted a fast clear, with a time that Malin could not match.
“It wasn’t an easy class to win. Often, if you get to the fifth round, you’ve won,” said Bertram. “It was difficult to know how fast to go as I was mid-drawn, so I didn’t want to risk going too fast and having a fence down.”
However, the young Irishman rode his round to perfection to take the spoils.
Jessica Ticks the Box at Last
Team GBR Olympic reserve, Jessica Mendoza, has enjoyed a meteoric rise in show jumping, but until today there was one gap in her CV: The Dodson & Horrell and The World Class Programme U23 British Championships at Olympia, the London International Horse Show.
She put that right with a masterful victory on Wan Architect, despite 15-year-old Jack Whitaker, the European Pony Champion, running her close to the wire with a mature performance on the grey stallion Grade A Valentin R, one of three horses he qualified for Olympia.
Yazmin Davis finished third on Zilverster ll, having incurred a time penalty in the jump-off.
Jessica, Jack and Yazmin all jumped clear in the first round and were joined in the jump-off by the fastest of the four-faulters, who knew they had nothing to lose by going for speed and pressurising the top three.
Graham Gillespie set a blistering target with a clear round in 35.86 seconds on Celine, which was good enough to take fourth place, and Millie Allen, a star of the Pony and Junior circuits, was fifth on the stallion Balou Star.
Despite all her experience, Jessica, 21, commented that she felt Kelvin Bywater’s track was “stiff enough” and said: “I watched everyone’s rounds very carefully. Jack did a very smooth round which was hard to gauge so I knew I had to go for it. I’ve been second and third in this class so winning it at last really means a lot.”
Jessica, who has been competing Wan Architect in other classes at Olympia, was 4.54 seconds faster than Jack but his calm, classical approach was impressive and father Michael, who was in the audience for once, was visibly as proud as punch.
“I’m very, very pleased,” Jack said afterwards, “though I should have gone quicker! This is a prestigious class and I’ve been trying to get here for ages.”
Other highlights include Lee Windeatt and Ag Ch Darleyfalls Pipistrelle taking the victory in The Kennel Club Large Senior Dog Agility Finals.
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