Fry back home
Charlotte Fry (GBR) had dressage under her command, and the Olympic medalist racked an astounding 90.995 per cent in the Grand Prix Freestyle. Lottie is based in The Netherlands (where she trains with two-time Olympic medal-winning Anne van Olst). Back among her compatriots at the weekend, though, and also taking the Short Grand Prix on Thursday afternoon, victory came in the Dressage World Cup Freestyle on Friday evening, aboard Glamourdale, under whom, in 2018, she'd become champion in the World Championships for Young Horses. It was Glamourdale, too, who'd led her to gold medals at August's FEI World Championships in Denmark, taking both the individual special and individual freestyle.
Excell excells at the ExCel
This is the second year the London International Horse Show has been staged at the ExCel arena, moving across town from its former home in west London. And, after Marcus Ehning came home with the two-round Snowflake Stakes, it was the turn of "headline writer" Boyd Excell (AUS) to, quite literally, excell in the carriage. Leaving behind two Dutch rivals, Bram Chardon and Koos De Ronde, Excell would achieve a net time of 143.89 (after four penalties) in the drive-off. The prize came two days after he'd secured Thursday's Extreme Driving from De Ronde: a third to Dries Degrieck (BEL) on four penalties. Gerrit Nieberg took the evening's Christmas Cracker jumping, fifteen seconds off Austrian rival, the acclaimed Max Kühner, and seventy off third placed Conor Swail (IRL).
Brash brushes off the opposition
To viewers around the country, Sunday saw Leg 8 of the FEI Jumping World Cup. It was a cheering crowd at ExCel too as, taking his 20 points, Scott Brash (GBR) now nudges into seventeenth position in the table, behind Sweden's Henrik von Eckermann - the not untouchable leader on 58 points - and another British hope in Harry Charles, closing in on 53. Elsewhere today, it was all but a British wipeout in the six bar challenge. And, away from the shopping area, France's Régiment de Cavalerie de la Garde Républicaine led the evening's entertainment. That came after Italy's Lorenzo De Luca had taken the Santa Stakes, France's Julien Epaillard the Misteltoe Speed, and 'Frozen' the Fancy Dress Relay.
Power in the puissance
Surely one of Olympia's greatest crowd pleasers, Thursday's puissance saw spoils shared between two Brits: Guy Williams, with the experienced Mr Blue Sky, and fellow grey Cruze, who was competing in only his second puissance, and had Joseph Trunkfield on board. In the Monday night finale, it was time to welcome riders of a very different discipline: the Jockeys Jumping, in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund. Rachel Blackmore was there, so was Sir AP McCoy, Hayley Turner, Harry Skelton, James Doyle, Brian Hughes, Bridget Andrews, Saffie Osborne, Joanna Mason... even our Racing Breaks ambassador, Jim Crowley. A star-studded performance that came just before much smaller stars, in the nightly Shetland Pony Grand National. A home win for Matthew Sampson on Ebolensky (in the London Grand Prix) rounded off proceedings.