Ireland’s Mikey Pender crowns incredible year with Olympia Puissance victory while Darragh Kenny also takes London win

  • 19 December 2019, 10:14

Kildare’s Mikey Pender showed why he is among the most talented young riders in world Show Jumping, by sharing victory in last night’s (Wednesday) Puissance competition at the five-star Olympia Horse Show in London.

Ireland’s Mikey Pender punches the air after clearing the big red wall at Olympia to share victory with Britain’s William Whitaker (Photo: Ashley Neuhof)

Pender was riding the 12-year-old stallion Hearton du Bois Halleux and cleared the big red wall in the final fifth round at a height of 7ft 2in (2m18), to share victory with Britain’s William Whitaker who also jumped clear with RMF Charly.

“It’s a pleasure to ride a horse like that,” said Pender. “It makes your job a lot easier. Everything you ask him he’ll do. It was my first time here in Olympia and the horse jumped amazing. He is such a brave horse with so much scope and he jumped it easy. I felt his last two rounds were his best rounds. In the beginning he was a little bit tense but as he got into it he relaxed more and everything became easier for him.”

Last year’s Olympia Puissance joint winner, Guy Williams on the big grey Mr Blue Sky UK, also made it to the final round but knocked a brick out of the wall on his last attempt, while Ireland’s Nano Healy and KMS Clintland (ISH) shared fourth place after making it through to the fourth round.

It was 20-year-old Mikey Pender’s first appearance at the iconic Olympia venue and his Puissance win comes five months after he became the the youngest ever winner of the Hickstead Derby when also riding Hearton du Bois Halleux who is owned by Paul Van Den Bosch. An incredible year for Mikey Pender also saw him claim two medals at the 2019 FEI World Championships for Young Horses in Lanaken, while last weekend at the prestigious Rolex Geneva show in Switzerland, he claimed a runner-up finish in one of the feature competitions and made it through to the jump off in the Rolex Grand Prix.

There was also Irish success in the earlier Santa Stakes 1m55 at Olympia, when World No.8 Darragh Kenny scored a brilliant win with the 11-year-old Important de Muze. An exceptionally tight turn to the penultimate fence gave Kenny the advantage midway through the 10-horse jump-off, with his clear round in 34.45 proving to be unbeatable.

Offaly’s Darragh Kenny with Important de Muze on their way to victory in the Santa Stakes at Olympia

Speaking after the competition, Kenny said:

“It’s such a great show here, I really like coming here every year, the crowd are always amazing and to start off with a win is really nice. I didn’t get to see William’s round [William Whitaker who finished as runner-up] but I know my horse is quite careful and just went as fast as I could, which proved good enough today.”

The London Olympia Horse Show continues until Sunday, with highlights including the Olympia Grand Prix and FEI World Cup.

  • Tags: