Britain got off to a flying start at Olympia this afternoon, with Robert Smith finishing second in the Welcome Speed Stakes. First place in the £4,000 prize-pot Speed Stakes went to Germany’s Heinrich Engemann (Candela NRW) with Sweden’s Malin Baryard-Johnsson and H&M Tamina taking third position.
Despite knocking a wing and sending a pole bouncing in its cup, Smith and the celebrated Gerry Maguire finished just 0.79 pen behind Engemann. The eldest son of legendary show jumper Harvey Smith has represented Great Britain on 72 Nations Cups, 14 of them ending in victory. But Heinrich Engemann speedy clear scored him first prize in his Olympia debut.
Britain’s Guy Williams took fourth place on Perfect. Williams, who competed in his first Nations Cup at Olympia earlier this year, jumped an impressive clear to finish ahead of Germany’s Frank Sloothaak.
But Britain has left herself plenty of room for improvement. The Whitakers were jinxed this afternoon with Ellen and Robert both knocking the same narrow fence and Michael and John clocking up 4 penalties each. Hickstead Derby winner Ben Maher suffered an unfortunate refusal and Tim Stockdale knocked two fences. World number one, Germany’s Marcus Ehning also had a bad day, earning 4 jumping penalties and a time fault. Perhaps at 1m50, the jumps were just not big enough?
The Welcome Speed Stakes marks the beginning of an exciting line-up of jumping classes. Tomorrow’s highlights include the Accenture Young Show Jumper of the Year and the Accenture Christmas Puissance.
For full results visit www.olympiahorseshow.com
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