Bravery, accuracy and razor sharp turns were the name of the game in the Welcome Speed Stakes at Olympia this afternoon. Britain’s Paul Barker and Temple Guess What set a blazing pace at the start of the competition.

The pair was second to jump and cleared the course in an impressive 56.22 sec. But their lead was to be short lived. Next in the ring Eric Van der Vleuten and Audi’s Owendel trumped their time by over a second, leaving them in third place at the end of the competition.

One by one the remaining 32 starters attempted to beat Van der Vleuten’s time. Britain’s John Whitaker with Lactic 2 came the closest. As the pair cleared the final fences they seemed in with a chance. But their time was just 0.15 sec slower than Van der Vleuten – leaving them in second place.

Robert Smith was the only other Brit to finish in the top 10. Aboard Columbia XI Smith cleared the course in 58.9 sec, taking seventh position behind Swedish rider Marlin Baryard-Johnsson and Necoll.

Results

1. Eric Van der Vleuten (Netherlands) Audi’s Owendel
2. John Whitaker (Britain) Lactic 2
3. Paul Barker (Britain) Temple Guess What
4. Pascal Levy (France) Ceo
5. Linnea Ericsson (Denmark) Pgl Cronus
6. Marlin Baryard-Johnsson Necoll
7. Robert Smith (Britain) Columbia XI
8. Peter Wylde (USA) Meautry’s Pleasure
9. Jonella Ligresti (Italy) Bilitis B vh Juxschot
10. Alois Pollmann-Schweckhorst (Germany) Candy