Olympia Show Jumping: Friday

By: Horse Deals

Olympia Show Jumping: Friday
Ben Maher and Noctambule Courcelle clear 7ft 3in (2.21m) to win the Alltech Puissance
The new British number one, Guy Williams, and Ben Maher, the man he deposed at the top of the table, continued their dominance of Olympia’s show jumping classes on the Friday of the show.
Guy proved in unbeatable form in the afternoon, where the action started with the accumulator with joker. In this class, riders go against the clock, collecting points for clearing each fence, then can add to their total by clearing a difficult joker fence at the end of the course.
There were 11 maximum scores and for a long time it looked as though Horse Deals columnist Laura Renwick would head the line after a great round on her Irish-bred Roller Coaster. Laura would have been forgiven for counting the cash after the previous night’s heroes, Ben Maher and Oscar, failed to catch her, but penultimate-drawn Guy flew round on his new ride, the 10-year-old Dutch-bred Titus, to cut almost 2sec from her time.
It was a similar scenario in the Earls Court Olympia Christmas Cracker, which offered the top prize-money of the show so far. Seventeen top combinations reached the jump-off and Guy was again at his best from a favourable draw to gallop into a winning lead on Torinto van de Middelstede.
The Kent-based rider took some notable scalps here. Dutchman Marc Houtzager was second on HBC Tamino, with Beijing individual silver medallists Rolf-Goran Bengtsson and Ninja La Silla having to settle for third spot.
There were two other Britons in the line-up. Tim Stockdale and Kalico Bay were seventh, while Laura Renwick kept up her good form to jump a double clear for eighth place on her HOYS grand prix winner Oz de Breve.
After a quiet start to the show, it all went right for Ellen Whitaker in the Mistletoe Stakes, which opened the evening performance. Ellen set an unbeatable target on Jodi Streeter Calvados stallion Royal Rose, leaving Thursday’s Welcome Stakes winner Cian O’Connor (Umberto) and Laura Renwick (Limelight de Breve) in her wake.
A packed house was kept enthralled by the closing Alltech Puissance, in which three pairs reached the fifth and final round. Here, Ben Maher was the only rider able to clear the 7ft 3in wall on his new ride, the French-bred Noctambule Courcelle, with Michael Whitaker (Cyber-Space) and Tina Fletcher (Promised Land) having to share second place.
Ben was delighted with the nine-year-old Noctambule, who was bought from Cian O’Connor shortly before the show.
"It’s been a few years since I jumped in a puissance, but I believed in the horse and he did it for me," he said.