Ireland’s David Simpson cleared 2.20m to win the Alltech Christmas Puissance with the great mare Richi Rich III on Thursday night (18 December) at Olympia. Punching the air in sheer delight, this was 26-year-old David’s first outright win over the big red wall.
“She was incredible – it’s great for the owners, it’s great for us and, coming up to Christmas, it feels as though we’ve ended the year on a proper high,” said the West Sussex-based rider, who had tied for first place in the puissance at Horse of the Year Show in October.
David took over the ride on the legendary high-jumping 13-year-old mare from Guy Williams at the start of the summer and the pair have since contested puissances at Dublin and Oslo.
“Guy actually gives me a hand with her whenever he has time,” he said. “She’s been consistently really good. I wouldn’t say I was confident coming in to this but I’m always positive – determined maybe. It’s pretty incredible to win here.”
Second-placed Karline De Brabander, 27, travelled from Belgium just for this class and was thrilled having set a personal best, clearing 2.15m in the penultimate round before just nudging out a couple of bricks in the two-rider finale.
“I’m happy that I got so far,” she said. “I’ve done puissance twice and won twice, but anything can happen. It was unbelievable just to come here.”
Four riders shared third having jumped 2.05m in the third round – Joe Clayton (Rockim), Pius Schwizer (Armani The Gun CH), Geir Gulliksen (Grand Balou)and Markus Saurugg (What Ever).
Don’t miss the bumper report from the puissance and the rest of the jumping at Olympia in next week’s issue of Horse & Hound, out on New Year’s Eve.