Dutch star Jan Tops made short work of a top-class field to win Thursday afternoon’s Christmas Cracker Stakes at Olympia on his mare, Roofs.
Despite being drawn third in a field of 37, the multi Olympic medallist jumped an unbeatable round in the speed class to determine the order for Sunday’s World Cup qualifier, although American-born German rider Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum did come close on her athletic gelding, Shutterfly.
Paul Barker, competing at first ever World Cup show, was the best of the home side in third place on Jimmy Small’s lovely eight-year-old stallion, Temple Croesus.
This is Jan Tops’s first World Cup show of the winter.
“I’ve been busy buying and selling horses, so I gave Roofs a seven-week rest,” he explained.
The Tops stable completed its domination of the international classes when Jan’s stable-jockey, Steve Guerdat, headed the take your own line on Hermes Rouge. The 21-year-old Swiss rider finished sixth individually in the European Championship earlier in the season and is another paying his first visit to Olympia.
“I really love it here,” he said. “This could be the best show in the world.”
The riders in the morning’s Accenture Young Show Jumper Award found Olympia’s unique atmosphere hard to cope with and only two made the jump-off. Here, Norfolk-based Portia Howard jumped the only double clear on Oscar XI to defeat Gemma Plumley, who lowered a late fence on Continue B.