VDL Groep Tomboy’s bucking between fences during the jump-off of the World Cup qualifier at the Olympia Horse Show didn’t slow down Dutch rider Eric Van Der Vleuten’s round. The pair headed the class from the first double clear rider, Ireland’s Cian O’Connor (Rancorrado), giving Eric an 11-point lead on the Western European league.

“I’ve pretty much guaranteed my place at the final now,” said Eric, who had already collected good points from the Oslo, Helsinki and Verona legs. “So I’ll be building him up towards the final.”

Eric bought the 10-year-old son of Emilion 18 months ago jointly with Stoeterij Duysels, but had been trying to buy the gelding for some time after spotting him as a six-year-old.

“He was being ridden by Roosje Brouwer, who took him up to three-star level,” said Eric. “But I kept getting told the time wasn’t right for him to be sold. Eventually, the time came.”

Listen to Eric Van Der Vleuten’s interview

Britain’s Ben Maher jumped clear with Robin Hood W to finish fourth, while Michael Whitaker (GIG Amai) was the fastest four fault rider, finishing seventh. The two riders now stand 13th and 10th, respectively, on the league table with seven legs left and the top 18 qualifying.

“If I do qualify, I’ll take Wonderboy rather than Robin Hood to the final,” said Ben. “Robin will be aimed at the World Equestrian Games.”

Success for France

France’s Penelope Leprevost, whose top horse Jubilee D’Ouilly disappointingly was injured just before the European Championship at Windsor, headed the H&M ivy stakes with new ride Myss Valette.

“I’ve only jumped her at one show before, Marseille, at the beginning of December and she won there,” said Penelope. “She had been ridden on the French national circuit by her owner Benjamin Ghelfi and has come to me to jump bigger classes. I think I may put her in the grand prix here.”

Happily for Penelope, Jubilee D’Ouilly is now back in work and will join her in Mechelen, Belgium, at the end of the week.

Pius Schwizer claimed his second outright win in the H&M speed stakes with Joy’s Mouche. The victory helped him retain his place at the top of the leading rider table, where he currently stands 13 points clear of Ellen Whitaker.

Smaller equines also took to the stage on the penultimate day, when the show hosted the H&M mini stakes for 128cm ponies. Elle Popely, 11, and Show Me Again, who have been partners for a year, produced the faster of two double clears in the nine-pony jump-off.

“I thought there would be more double clears because there were so many clears in the first round,” said Ella. “I just went as quickly as I could and galloped down the arena to the last. It seemed to take ages getting to the fence as you had to ride from one end of the arena to the other.”

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