Andrew Davies riding Limbo wins the Masters on the second day of Olympia

Andrew Davies captured the biggest pay packet of his career when he and Mandy Hall’s Limbo produced a superb performance to win the Masters, the major class of the second day at the Olympia International Show Jumping Championships.

The 26-year-old Welshman kept his cool during an electric finale in which he and German star Lars Nieberg went head to head against the clock for the £12,500 pot.

This class, in which each of the seven competitors chooses a fence to raise throughout four preliminary rounds, looked like it would go to a four-horse jump-off when John Whitaker (Francesco Di Georgio) and last year’s winners, Robert Smith and Kalusha, got through to the final preliminary stage.

These big names went out there, leaving first-drawn Andrew to carry the hopes of the huge crowd. His jump-off round was a joy to watch, with the eight-year-old Dutch-bred bay, a former Horse & Hound Foxhunter finalist with Marie Edgar, answering every call to set a good time.

Lars Nieberg set off like a rocket on his wife’s usual ride, the eight-year-old Delon, but it all went wrong when the big chesnut ballooned a huge parallel, almost unseating Lars, and taking a sharp line to the following 1.65m planks, which they hit behind.

This was a great win for Andrew, who missed out by a fraction on Sydney Olympic selection with Captain Wellington. He has found a partner with Limbo who has already jumped double clears in Nations Cups, who could again put him in contention for championship teams.

Andrew’s great friend John Renwick produced his usual flying performance to take the opening class, the Mistletoe Stakes, on his Wembley Speed Horse of the Year, Brookend Fuehrer, but the other two competitions went to foreign visitors.

Italy’s Jerry Smit took the Santa Claus jump-off class on his Irish-bred Cavalier mare, Secret Love, while German Olympic team gold medallist Marcus Ehning was too quick with Junior for the rest of his rivals in the Snowman speed class.

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  • See 3 January issue of Horse & Hound magazine for further reports.