London, U.K – December 18, 2019 – Show jumping competition at Olympia, The London International Horse Show, kicked off on Wednesday, December 18. As one of the most highly anticipated events of the year, exhibitors and spectators traveled from around the world for the premier holiday event. Twenty-eight horse-and-athlete combinations gathered under the glass roof of Olympia Grand Wednesday morning for the Olympia Welcome Stakes CSI5*, but ultimately, it was Great Britain’s Holly Smith and Flipper Darco UK Z that emerged victorious in the first event of the week.
Mark McAuley (IRL) and Thunder G Z led off the competition, producing the first double-clear round in Alan Wade’s (IRL) 1.40m set power-and-speed class. Fence number two, the Olympia Underground jump, would prove to be one of the most difficult of the obstacles of the course, causing many faults for riders in the power phase. A total of 14 pairs moved onto the speed portion of the course, all vying to lead the victory gallop.
On her home turf, Smith was in her element aboard her very own Flipper Darco UK Z. The 8-year-old gelding soared to the finish line in a record 25.97 seconds to win it all and help Smith take home the lion’s share of money. Smith was a part of the British bronze medal team at the 2019 FEI European Jumping Championships in Rotterdam, the Netherlands in August.
Hot on the heels of Smith was Laura Renwick and the 13-year-old KWPN gelding owned by the Renwick family, Bintang II. The fellow British rider put in a perfect 26.00 seconds on the scoreboard to claim the reserve position. With “Bing” Renwick assisted Team GBR to the silver medal at the 2015 FEI Nations Cup™ Final in Barcelona.
Germany’s Michael Jung rode Yamen Kalach’s Dante RZ into third. Less than half a second slower than Renwick, Jung and the 8-year-old Bavarian Warmblood gelding showed great stride throughout the track. The Olympic and FEI World Equestrian Games™ gold medalist competes in both show jumping and eventing.
Show jumping competition at Olympia, The London International Horse Show CSI5*, will continue Wednesday, December 18, with the Santa Stakes 1.55m and Musto Inside Edge Stakes before moving on to the Cayenne Puissance in the evening. The highlight event of the week will take place on Saturday, December 21, in the form of the €170,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ London CSI5*-W.
Olympia Welcome Stakes
Place / Horse / Rider / Country / Faults | Time
1. Flippper Darco UK Z / Holly Smith / GBR / 0 | 25.97
2. Bintang II / Laura Renwick / GBR / 0 | 26.00
3. Dante RZ / Michael Jung / GER / 0 | 26.24
4. Zira vh Kapelhof Z / Anthony Condon / IRL / 0 | 26.35
5. Arakorn / Geir Gulliksen / NOR / 0 | 27.15
6. Thunder G Z / Mark McAuley / IRL / 0 | 27.47
7. Gakhir / Ben Maher / GBR / 0 | 27.76
8. Casco Bay / Laura Kraut / USA / 0 | 28.35
9. Winning Good / Emily Moffitt / GBR / 0 | 30.20
10. Mighty Mouse / Steve Geurdat / SUI / 0 | 30.42