International show jumping at the 2015 London Olympia International Horse Show got off to a busy start on Thursday. Germany’s Hilmar Meyer and Belgium’s Jos Verlooy shared first place in the €22,000 Alltech Christmas Puissance by becoming the only two riders to make it to the 5th round without knocking the wall down.
Verlooy proved that he has a talented puissance horse on his hands when he followed up an October puissance win (at the Washington International Horse Show in the USA) with a second puissance victory aboard Sunshine.
While Verlooy and Sunshine, a 9-year-old Belgian warmblood gelding (Diamant de Semilly x Hardi) that is owned by Jos’ father, Axel Verlooy, cleared 6’11” in the D.C. puissance, the game was raised even higher in London, with a final height of 7’1″ being cleared to claim victory.
The class featured 11 starters, four of whom faulted in the 3rd round. Ireland’s Trevor Breen claimed 3rd place with Loughtanousa WB.
Earlier in the day, Italy’s Emanuele Gaudiano claimed 1st place in the €25,000 Santa Stakes, denying the home crowd a local victory by finishing ahead of Great Britain’s John Whitaker by less than a second’s difference.
Gaudiano, who is considered a speed specialist with his fleet of horses, tacked up Caspar 232, a 9-year-old grey Oldenburg (Casper x Padarco) in the two round class in which nine pairs qualified for the jumpoff.
All nine in the jumpoff finished their second round with no jumping faults, giving the finishers at the top a race to the finish. Whitaker and Argento, the 13-year-old Anglo stallion (Arko III x Gasper) that has had such a spectacular year, couldn’t quite catch Gaudiano’s time, finishing in 33.97 seconds to his 33.52.
The feature class of Friday’s card is The Longines Christmas Cracker. Riders are aiming to qualify for Sunday’s Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Grand Prix, presented by H&M.
For full results go here.