Germany’s Daniel Deusser capitalised on his late draw to land the concluding Olympia grand prix with Equita Van T Zorgvliet. After hitting an early vertical, world cup hero Scott Brash claimed third with Hello Guv’Nor.
The final class of the show attracted a star-studded field, but only six managed round one clears over Kelvin Bywater’s tricky, technical track. And clears were even harder to come by in round two.
Cavalia, a nine-year-old only recently stepped up to this level, tripped and almost unseated the USA’s Laura Kraut to finish on 12, and German maestro Marcus Ehning brought down two rails on Gin Chin Van Het Lindenhof.
A problematic, tall vertical on a related distance and just prior to a tight turn caught out Scott Brash and Hello Guv’Nor, and Switzerland’s London 2012 individual gold medallist Steve Guerdat also returned on four – equalling Scott’s time to eventually finish equal third on Corbinian.
Along with equal third, Scott was also awarded the Walwyn Trophy as best-placed Brit in the grand prix on the Diamant De Semilly/Papillon Rouge 11-year-old Hello Guv'Nor.
When it looked as though a clear may prove elusive, Australia’s Edwina Tops-Alexander came to the fore on the inexperienced California to provide a clean sheet, but their steady time was vulnerable.
“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,” she said.
They were denied victory when Daniel used his final draw to guide the 12-year-old Equita into the top spot by almost three sec.
“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.”
Ben and the inexperienced eight-year-old Don Vito picked up four faults and proved one of the fastest faulters in round one to take seventh. Michael Whitaker jumped a super round on Viking only to hit the final fence to put him out of the jump-off. Anthony Condon on Chinook II and fellow Irishman Cian O’Connor returned on five faults each and Laura Renwick – riding Yazmin Pinchen’s powerful stallion Van De Vivaldi at their second show together – came home on eight. Tim Wilks and Quelbora Merze also returned eight faults.
Laura Renwick enjoyed a great Olympia and claimed another win – although she had to share the spoils of the six-bar with Norway’s Geir Gulliksen.
Laura on the Dollar du Maurier seven-year-old Top Dollar VI – who cleared the Puissance wall three times before Laura decided to withdraw because of age and inexperience – posted a clean sheet in four rounds, as did Geir on the Cantos 11-year-old Arakorn.
Only three reached the fourth round with Ireland’s Cian O’Connor Happy Day ter Putte taking third with four faults. Laura and Geir opted to share instead of jumping the fifth and final round.
Ireland’s Darragh Kenny made his first visit to Olympia a winning one with the Holly Speed Stakes 1.45m, taking the top spot on Fixdesign Funke Van’t Heike by 1.14 sec.
“She has a big stride so there were a couple of places where I could take one less, especially coming to the last,” said Darragh, who was flying back to his Florida base the following day.
Britain’s William Funnell was the closest rival on the 13-year-old Billy Angelo to take second with Ireland’s Cian O’Connor third aboard Be Gentle. Jess Mendoza was almost five sec behind the pace for sixth on the nine-year-old Horst Van De Mispalaere and four faults dropped Robert Bevis and Pebbles from third to 10th.
Placed throughout the week, Sweden's consistent Malin Baryard Johnsson (seen here finishing second in the Christmas Masters on H&M Indiana) hung on to her early lead to take the H&M leading rider award for her sponsor, nine points ahead of grand prix winner Daniel Deusser.
Ben Maher was best Brit in fifth.
Photos © Kit Houghton/HPower Olympia