London, U.K. – December 20, 2019 – Competition at Olympia, The London International Horse Show, continued on Friday, December 20, bringing yet another day of action-packed, holiday-inspired equestrian sport to Olympia Grand. In the Longines Christmas Cracker CSI5*, a total of 29 contenders came forward, all vying for the top spot and a dose of confidence before heading into Saturday nights Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ London. In the end, it was Ireland’s Darragh Kenny aboard his own and Ann Thompson’s Classic Dream who rode away with the victory.
Twelve obstacles made up the 1.55m track designed by Ireland’s Alan Wade and Britain’s Bob Ellis. The series of Christmas and London themed fences proved tricky for many combinations, leaving only eight riders to advance to the jump-off.
The shortened track included seven obstacles, tight rollback turns and long approaches that left many opportunities for horses and riders to shave off seconds on their time. First to try their hand at the track was Oliver Robert (FRA) and Vangog du Mas Garnier, who put an unfortunate four faults on the scoreboard. Immediately following, however, William Whitaker (GBR) entered the arena, putting in a clear ride to make himself the first double-clear combination. Three others would follow suit, but none quicker than Kenny’s 30.82 seconds he put on the clock.
Currently ranked eighth in the world, Kenny has become a regular to the winner’s circle, already marking his second victory of the week in Olympia after claiming Wednesday’s Santa Stakes CSI5* with Ann Thompson’s Important de Muze. The Irish rider has found great success in the past year with many different combinations of horses, including Classic Dream. At only nine years old, the gelding was nothing short of spectacular under the glass ceiling of Olympia Grand, never rocking a rail and leading by nearly two seconds. Representing Ireland, Kenny has his sights set on the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Taking second in the competitive class was the Netherlands’ Bart Bles. Riding SF Equestrian’s Gin D, Bles put in a fault-free 31.99 seconds in the jump-off. Previously campaigned by Belgium’s Pieter Devos, Bles picked up the ride on the 13-year-old stallion in March of 2019.
Tying for third was Britain’s William Whitaker aboard RMF Echo, and Australia’s Max Kühner riding Cornet Kalua. Both put in identical times of 33.13 seconds and left all of the fences up to share the reserve position.
Show jumping competition at Olympia, The London International Horse Show CSI5*, will continue Saturday, December 21, with the highlight show jumping event of the week, the €170,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ London CSI5*-W. Saturday evening will play host to the Martin Collins Enterprises Christmas Tree Stakes while Sunday’s competition will feature an exciting line-up of competition, including The Turkish Airlines Olympia Grand Prix CSI5*.
Longines Christmas Cracker CSI5*
Place / Horse / Rider / Country / Faults | Time
1. Classic Dream / Darragh Kenny / IRL / 0 | 56.02 / 0 | 30.82
2. Gin D / Bart Bles / NED / 0 | 57.72 / 0 | 31.99
3. RMF Echo / William Whitaker / GBR / 0 | 55.96 / 0 | 33.13
3. Cornet Kalua / Max Kühner / AUT / 0 | 58.88 / 0 | 33.13
5. Borsato / Harry Charles / GBR / 0 | 58.97 / 4 | 32.22
6. Vangog du Mas Garnier / Olivier Robert / FRA / 0 | 59.77 / 4 | 32.32
7. F One USA / Ben Maher / GBR / 0 | 59.17 / 4 | 32.66
8. Clanda / Marcus Ehning / GER / 0 | 58.55 / 4 | 33.14
9. DM Jacqmotte / Wilm Vermeir / BEL / 1 | 60.08
10. Sportsmann S / Michael Jung / GER / 1 | 60.20