Dermott Lennon trounced an Olympic calibre field to win the Olympia Grand Prix with Loughview Lou-Lou — the mare’s first attempt at grand prix at any show.
Lennon, the 2002 world champion, went midway in an 11-horse jump-off and his target forced errors from the rest of the pack.
Of the British, only Peter Charles and Murkas Nevada were up to the challenge for eventual third place, from an earlier draw, behind the Spanish prodigy Manuel Anon and Rachel Chavannaise.
Lennon has had a few years without the right calibre of horse power but Lou-Lou, bought a year ago, has changed all that.
“She’s naturally fast, so I thought that if I aimed to keep the fences up she’d do the time anyway! It is wonderful to be competitive again,” said Lennon, who ended up third in the leading rider of the week rankings.
Earlier, Guy Williams won his fifth class of the week, and Djakarta’s third, the Martin Collins Eraser Stakes. Ben Maher was third with Milena, also a two-times speed class winner and this was enough to consolidate his position as H&M Leading Rider of the show ahead of Marcus Ehning, even before the grand prix.
Jessica Mendoza, 15, determinedly recovered from a broken ankle in September to win the JJs Junior Jumping Championship for the third year in succession, this time with Razorlite. This was her first competition since recovery and Razorlite was chosen as he was the only pony that would not have tolerated being turned away while Jess was grounded. “It’s great that he has won something big when he’s always been in the shadow of Tixylix before,” said Jess.
Pick up a copy of Thursday’s Horse & Hound for full details and analysis of Olympia horse show