Robert Smith (pictured) proved he is still master of the show jumping arena this afternoon, winning the Links of London Grade A at the Royal Windsor Horse Show. Partnering the powerful stallion Marius Claudius, Smith cleared the jump off course in a speedy 43.13 sec to take the £1,500 first prize.
But young talent Hannah Paul certainly gave the veteran rider a run for his money. A stylish round aboard Saffier Van de Brand Kleek was not quite good enough for pole position but earned her second prize. David McPherson and Bobs Diamond, winners of this mornings Speed Stakes, took third position.
Bob Ellis’s first-round course was a technically difficult one and only three riders made it through to the jump off. First to go David McPherson completed in an impressive 27.44 sec but knocked a pole, leaving Paul and Smith competing head to head.
Smiths time, 43.13 sec, was a good deal slower than McPhersons, but Marius Claudius jumped accurately, leaving all the fences standing.
Hannah Paul set off with determination and Saffier Van de Brand Kleek left nothing to chance, clearing the fences with inches to spare. But their time was over three seconds slower than Smith, relegating them to the £1,000 runners-up position.
Smith and Marius Claudius were Britains only representatives at the 2003 World Cup was were placed at the British Open Show Jumping Championships earlier this year. Smith took over the ride on 12-year-old Marius Claudius six years ago and has brought him up through the ranks.