British number one, Robert Smith, proved invincible in the Christmas Masters, jumping five clear rounds on Kalusha and beating Germany’s Marcus Ehning in a head-to-head against the clock.
Smith’s confidence is on a high after a run of success this autumn. He said: “Whatever Marcus did I knew I was going to beat him. Kalusha is probably a better horse indoors and when he’s in the groove he wins; he’s fast and very competitive.”
Smith, who said Olympia is his favourite indoor show — and is now £12,000 richer as a result of this class — will ride Marius Claudius in tomorrow’s World Cup qualifier, which will be shown live on BBC Grandstand. Smith, currently ranked 10th in the world, has yet to win the Olympia qualifier and also has some ground to gain in the World Cup rankings. He is currently in 19th place.
The Masters is for the seven leading riders in the show so far and works on a knock-out basis with the prize pool increasing at each clear round.
Germany’s Alois Pollmann-Schweckhor made an early exit in the first round when he jumped the wrong course and was eliminated. John Whitaker also departed in the first round with four faults and his son Robert made it as far as the third. Denmark’s Michael Aabo went one further to the fourth round before bowing out.
It was Germany versus the Netherlands in the Mitsubishi Reindeer Relay, with the former prevailing. Lutz Gripshover and Markus Beerbaum trounced Eric van der vleuten and Gert-Jan Bruggink by just 0.85sec to win. Young British pair Paul Barker and Ellen Whitaker came third.
King’s Leaze Riding Club won the SEIB Quadrille with a Teddy Bears Picnic themed sequence.