Mr Springfield, the horse Robert Smith rode into fourth place at the 2004 Olympics, made a triumphant return to competition in the Bic Accumulator on Olympia’s third afternoon.
After competing in Athens, Jimmy McCloskey’s Irish-bred gelding travelled to the Calgary Masters, but then suffered an injury that kept him out of competition for three years. This was his first victory since he returned to competition in October.
“And he feels as good as — if not better than — ever before,” said Robert, who finished well clear of Austria’s Julia Kayser (HBC Dancing Queen) and German star Marcus Ehning on For Fun.
The earlier Bic Speed Stakes produced the first overseas victory of the show when Frenchman Michel Hecart galloped to victory on another Irish-bred horse, That’s Life, defeating Robert Whitaker on Rusedski II by almost 1sec.
Despite a fence down apiece, Guy Williams (Una II) and Mark Armstrong (Rex) were too quick for their rivals in the Christmas Pairs relay, but the £4,300 prize in the closing Waverey TBS Santa Stakes went to Portugal.
Luciana Diniz was first to go in a classy 11-horse jump-off but she jumped a fantastic round on Meautry’s Locarno that none of her rivals could get near.
Luciana was born in Brazil, but decided to jump for Portugal to have more chance of championship appearances.
“I had dual nationality anyway,” she explained.
Results (first three and all British placings)
Bic Speed Stakes
1. That’s Life (Michel Hecart), FRA
2. Rusedski II (Robert Whitaker)
3. Lady Des Hayettes (Michael Whitaker)
5. Henri De Here (Ellen Whitaker)
7. Rex (Mark Armstrong)
8. Una II (Guy Williams)
9. Kerball (William Whitaker)
1. Mr Springfield (Robert Smith)
2. HBC Dancing Queen (Julia Kayser), AUT
3. For Fun (Marcus Ehning), GER
5. Merva Des Hayettes (Guy Williams)
9. Azucar (John Whitaker)
10. Lavaletta II (Mark Armstrong)
Christmas Pair Relay
1. Una II (Guy Williams) & Rex (Mark Armstrong)
2. Hooligan de Rosyl (Daniel Deusser) GER & Okometa (Alois Pohlmann-Schweckhorst), GER
3. Fraulien Smilla (Cian O’Connor), IRE & Azucar (John Whitaker)
Waverley TBS Santa Stakes
1. Meautry’s Locarno (Luciana Diniz), POR
2. H&M Esprit (Malin Baryard), SWE
3. Gitania (Marcus Ehning), GER
6. Sefana (Mark Armstrong)
8. Ronaldo (Robert Smith)