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Eric Van der Vleuten triumphs at Olympia qualifier

Eric van der Vleuten of the Netherlands rides VDL Groep Tomboy to victory at Olympia

Video - Van der Vleuten wins Olympia jump-off

Eric van der Vleuten thwarted the British challenge to capture the Rolex FEI World Cup qualifier at Olympia.

Riding Groep Tomboy, he clocked 35.08 seconds and became the first Dutch winner of an Olympia World Cup event since Jan Tops in 1994.

Irish challenger Cian O'Connor was second in 35.66, with France's Penelope Leprevost claiming third after a 35.97.

Ben Maher and Michael Whitaker were the only Britons to make the jump-off, but were fourth and seventh respectively.

Ellen Whitaker, Robert Smith, Nick Skelton and Peter Charles were among the home riders who went out at the first-round stage.

Smith remains the last British winner to taste World Cup glory at Olympia, having won the event in 2005 on board Kalusha.

Last year's blue riband event at the London International Horse Show produced only two clear rounds - Australian winner Edwina Alexander and British runner-up John Whitaker, the latter missing out this year as he recovers from a broken ankle.

It's a very good horse that suits me very well

Eric van der Vleuten

Alexander, on board Itot du Chateau, was among several riders to knock one fence down during a testing examination but there were no fewer than 11 clears to contest a thrilling jump-off.

Victory for van der Vleuten earned him £24,000 and also took him to top spot in the Western League standings after six events heading towards next April's World Cup final in Geneva.

"The horse has been very good all week," said the 46-year-old. "He has been in good shape.

"I was second last to go and I didn't want to see any of the other riders go in the jump-off. Everyone wants to win and the World Cup at Olympia is a special class.

"I bought the horse when he was nine years old. I had known him for three years before that and I had always liked him.

"It's a very good horse that suits me very well. I like to ride him."

Leprevost followed up her third place in the World Cup by capturing the H&M Ivy Stakes and a first prize of £4,700.

The French rider, aboard Myss Valette, won a high-class jump-off in 33.45 seconds, thwarting a superb challenge by Britain's Geoff Billington.

Billington and Pedro VI, the last to go from 11 against the clock, recorded a time of 33.89secs, while his British Nations Cup team-mate Peter Charles (Murka's Nevada) was third in 34.46s.



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