Just two riders from the original eight starters in the Allltech Christmas Puissance at Olympia, which has a prize fund of €20,000, made it through to the fifth and final round in this year’s thriller. Britain’s Guy Williams (Richi Rich 111) and Switzerland’s former World number one Pius Schwizer (Koby du Vartellier) went head-to-head over the big red wall standing at a massive 2,16m.
Although both riders have won many puissance classes with their equine partners for this contest, neither had won it here. Pius was first to go and, with a full house keen for a home win, the pressure was really on him. He and his 13-year-old partner cleared the wall with ease and their skill in doing so caused the crowd to erupt in appreciation. Landing safely, he punched the air in celebration.
“It felt so good to do it. The crowd were great, the commentators were great and the class had a great sponsor,” said Pius. “I knew Guy was likely to go clear, so it was good for me to get the clear in first.”
And his prediction was correct as, supported by his home fans, Guy entered the arena to rapturous applause. His mare, who is owned by Paul Gill, had gained a little extra speed in round four and did the same on the approach to the Alltech wall in the final round.
Despite, this, Guy still managed to position the big grey mare perfectly to clear the wall and share the honours with his Swiss rival.
“She does tend to get a bit stronger after the first round,” said Guy. “She won in Geneva last week so she’s in good form.”