Olympia Sunday: Europeans on top

By: Horse Deals

Olympia Sunday: Europeans on top
Rolex World Cup qualifier winner Eric van der Vleuten
Dutchman Eric van der Vleuten made the headlines at Olympia on Sunday after a polished performance on VDL Groep Tomboy captured the Rolex World Cup qualifier and sent Eric to the top of the Western European League.

Eric has been a frequent visitor to Britain in recent years, but this was one of his greatest triumphs here. And he had to be at his best to beat Ireland’s Cian O’Connor, whose stunning early round on the big Rancorrado looked sure to win.
Stylish Frenchwoman Penelope Leprevost moved into third place from final draw on the stallion Mylord Carthago, pushing British number one Ben Maher into fourth on Robin Hood W. Ben wasn’t too worried though because the big-jumping gelding looked back to his best after recovering from a virus.

Michael Whitaker, the other Briton in the jump-off, produced a flying round on his Verona winner, GIG Amai, but the lightest touch at the second part of the double left a pole on the floor and dropped them into seventh place.

"I am so pleased with my horse. He did the best he could and if anyone had beaten us, I wouldn’t have complained. But to win the World Cup at Olympia is something all riders dream of," said Eric afterwards.
Although Switzerland’s Pius Schwizer had to settle for fifth place in the qualifier on the eight-year-old Carlina — the horse all his rivals would take home with them if they could — he hung onto the leading rider’s armband after a terrific round on Joy’s Mouche won the earlier H&M Speed.

Cian O’Connor once again found himself second, this time on Irish Independent Echo Beach, while, for once, Ellen Whitaker and Kanselier weren’t quite quick enough and finished third.
Penelope Leprevost moved up two places to win the closing H&M Ivy Stakes. The French rider was among 11 to reach the jump-off over Frank Rothenberger’s tough course and when she came in on Myss Valette from penultimate draw, Peter Charles held the lead for the home team with the promising Murka’s Nevada.

A smooth round put France into the lead and, although Geoff Billington’s came agonisingly close on Pedro, Penelope took the £4,650 prize.

The youngest show jumpers at the show and their 128cm ponies entertained the crowd in the H&M Mini Stakes. The honours went to the determined Ella Popely — whose father, John, has jumped here many times in the past — with a lovely round on Show Me Again.