Germany’s Daniel Deusser is the latest rider to join the illustrious list of winners of the Olympia grand prix as he took top honours in the final class of the London show tonight (19 December).
Riding Equita van T Zorgvliet (pictured), a 12-year-old mare, the world number three saw off competition from five other riders in the jump-off, stopping the clock clear in a time of 45.67 seconds.
“I was the final rider to go in the jump-off which was obviously an advantage as I knew exactly what I had to do,” said Daniel. “I had to ride clear and not too fast. It nearly went wrong for me at the second last fence as my mare got in a bit close — sometimes when you have to go faster it’s easier to avoid things like that happening, but she tries hard all of the time so it wasn’t a problem.”
Daniel has had the ride on the Stephex Stables-owned mare since May this year.
“I didn’t have a horse for the Madrid leg of the Global Champions Tour in May, so I tried Equita van T Zorgvliet on the Monday before the show and we’ve won four grand prixs since then,” he laughed. “She is an unbelievable horse.”
Second place went to Australia’s Edwina Tops-Alexander riding the nine-year-old California.
Edwina recorded the first clear round in the jump-off, drawn second last. She rode for a steady clear on the super-scopey mare owned by American Equestrian Associates, finishing in a time of 48.42 seconds.
“When I walked the course I thought ‘my God, what are we doing?’ as I’ve only had the ride on this horse for three-and-a-half weeks,” laughed Edwina. “But she was full of confidence jumping in the FEI World Cup yesterday and so I knew she could do it.”
Scott Brash finished best of the Brits in equal third place riding Hello Guv’nor. Second to go in the jump-off, he set out meaning business, but just tipped the top rail of an upright at fence six. Remarkably he stopped the clock at 40.83 seconds, which was exactly the same time as Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat and Corbinian.
Just six riders made it through to the jump-off from the original start list of 34. Those included Marcus Ehning (Gin Chin van het Lindenhof) and Laura Kraut (Cavalia).
Daniel said that the Kelvin Bywater-designed track was intense from start to finish.
“There was no time to breathe as fences came up very quickly. It was a big track and riders needed to concentrate the whole way.”
Ben Maher finished in seventh riding Don Vito as the fastest of the four faulters.
To read the full report from Olympia, don’t miss this week’s Horse & Hound magazine, out Thursday 22 December