Former World Champion Franke Sloothaak has been in good form since the start of this year’s Olympia show. But the German star had to wait until the first class on Friday evening, the Accenture Stakes to record his first win.

It looked as though Ben Maher was going to score a victory for the home side on the lovely skewbald stallion Utah Van Erpekom, but Franke took a stride out between the first two fences and then never missed a beat around the track to take the top prize by 1.27sec on the Dutch-bred No Time.

“He’s a very good horse indeed, but he missed a couple of seasons after an injury and he’s not as experienced as his age would warrant,” said Franke of the 10-year-old chestnut.

Puissance power

Two of Britain’s best riders treated a sell-out Friday night crowd to a great display of power jumping in the Accenture Christmas Puissance.

And it was fitting that youth and experience should share the honours after both Ben Maher (Eperlan Du Fouquet) and John Whitaker on Exploit Du Roulard cleared the 7ft 3in wall.

The riders were delighted with their horses.

“The higher the wall went, the better Exploit jumped,” said John, while Ben said: “I was confident Eperlan could do it.”

To add to the British joy, sharing third place after going out in round four was another young star, 19-year-old Ellen Whitaker, who looked very unlucky after AK Locarno just brushed one brick off the wall.