World’s best battle at Olympia

  • After three second places, Switzerland’sBeat Mandli gained the reward he deserved when he and LB Lacorrado captured the £14,000 first prize in Olympia’s Sony Ericsson Masters.

    A capacity Sunday afternoon crowd watched as seven of the world’s best fought for this huge prize, which was settled in a jump-off between French star Michel Robert on the lovely chesnut eight-year-old, Galet D’Auzay and Beat with the nine-year-old son of Leonid on whom he had finished runner-up in the previous day’s jump-off class.

    Michel’s opening round looked good enough to win, but Beat produced an unhurried performance to take the honours by almost 1.5sec.

    Beat is in his first season with Lacorrado, who had competed in German national shows before he bought him and came to this show in good form after finishing second in Geneva and Vienna.

    “He’s a very good horse and I can use him in any class from speed to grand prix,” said Beat, who was enjoying Olympia’s challenge this year.

    “The light materials mean that courses do not have to be huge, but are more of a test for the rider,” he said.

    The class that really got the audience going was the final Sony Ericsson Ivy Stakes, in which five British riders made the 10-horse jump-off and then filled the top four places.

    As so often this week, Robert Smith proved unbeatable after a terrific round on Mr Springfield put him out of reach of his rivals. Tim Stockdale tried all the way and came close on Fresh DirectParcival, happily back in form after a hiccup in the World Cup qualifier, Keith Shore and It’s Magic Max underlined their promise with third place and William Funnell was delighted with fourth spot on the 2001 Horse & Hound Foxhunter champion, Cortaflex Mondriaan.

    Robert Smith had earlier come close to a third victory in the Christmas Cake Accumulator. He and Kalusha set what looked an unbeatable target, only to be pipped at the post by World Champion Dermott Lennon on the Royal International speed grand prix winner, Ginger Watt.

    An entertaining knock-out saw 16-year-old Ellen Whitaker come out best of the British – and succeed in her ambition of a top three placing – when she finished equal third on the palomino Colour Of Life. The honours went to Germany’s Markus Merschformann on the speedy Gambe.

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