Olympia Friday: Flying wins for cosmopolitan riders

By: Horse Deals

Olympia Friday: Flying wins for cosmopolitan riders
Swiss on top form: Pius Schwizer and Unique
Much as the home crowd wanted a "Whitaker Friday" to add to the previous day’s whitewash, things became more cosmopolitan at the start of Olympia’s second show jumping afternoon.

It looked for a long time as though Cian O’Connor would win the Accumulator for Ireland on the big chestnut Splendour, but right at the end, he was pushed into second place by the flying Swiss rider Pius Schwizer, who simultaneously extended his lead on the leading rider table.

Pius, who recently learned that he had an Olympic team bronze medal to go with his European gold after Norway’s Hong Kong relegation was confirmed, has been in marvellous form all season. His ride in this class was Unique X, the athletic bay on whom he has gained many major victories.

Tim Gredley produced a great round on the seven-year-old Valente to be best Brit in seventh spot, while Horse Deals columnist Robert Smith was left ruing Raging Bull Vangelis S’s fault at the final joker, as their time would have been good enough for second place.
It looked as though normal service would be resumed in the Earls Court Olympia Christmas Cracker. Michael Whitaker and Portofino took the lead in the 13-horse jump-off, then an inspired round from Ellen on Equimax Ocolado sneaked into the lead by 0.13sec.

But the last two to go changed the result around. Young Egyptian rider Abdel Said swept into the lead with a stunning round on Avenir — who almost jumped the double sideways — and held off last year’s World Cup winners here, Australia’s Edwina Alexander and Cevo Itot du Chateau.

This was one of the best ever results for Dutch-based Abdel, 20, who has been a popular visitor to Britain for HOYS on several occasions. He is the first ever Egyptian winner at this show and now dreams of representing his country at London 2012.

Ellen Whitaker made a dream start to the evening performance, claiming her third win of the show on Kanselier, this time in the Accenture table C. Ellen and Kanselier know each other inside out and they looked totally unhurried on the way to beating the speedy combination of French European Champion Kevin Staut and Pin Ball.

The day’s final class, the Accenture Puissance, kept the packed house on the edge of their seats, but had a slightly disappointing end.