Dutchman Albert Zoer’s decision not to make a time-saving turn in the H&M Ivy Stakes jump-off at Olympia with Sam 740 paid off.
His fast-paced round secured the win after Germany’s Marco Kutscher (Pablo) attempted the cut but had the final fence down.
“I didn’t want to take the risk,” said Albert. “I know my horse is fast.”
Sam 740 won the Aachen and Rotterdam grands prix with Albert this year, as well as finishing second in the Hamburg Global Champions grand prix.
But 2008 has been a year of ups and downs for Albert. At Rotterdam, his top horse Okidoki injured his jaw in an accident in his stable. However, he got the all clear from vets and was looking likely to be heading to Hong Kong for the Olympics. Then, Albert had a fall from a young horse at home, badly breaking his leg.
“My ankle is still broken and I have pins in it which cannot come out until at least April,” he said. “It’s just bad for walking on.”
Judging by his performance at Olympia this week, especially in the ivy stakes, it certainly isn’t affecting his riding.
Albert is now aiming for World Cup qualification and European Championship team selection.
“Both Okidoki and Sam are jumping great,” he said. “And my new young horse Uruguay is very promising. He’s only seven, so next year will be too soon for him, but he’ll definitely be one for the future.”
Belgium’s Philippe Le Jeune claimed the top spot in the H&M accumulator with his own Leo Du Prairial. Only six of the 25 starters scored the maximum 65points available, but Philippe managed it 4sec quicker than anyone else.
“I rode his sire [Shagoun] very successfully at World Cup shows in the early ninties,” said Philippe. “Leo is only 159cm, but he is afraid of nothing and very careful. I’m thinking of entering him in the La Baule Derby next year.”
Stay in touch with all the action from Olympia on Horseandhound.co.uk throughout the show and don’t miss H&H’s show jumping reports in 25 December issue (on sale 23 December) and 1 January issue (on sale 2 January).