Irish showjumper Michael Pender on Hearton des Boix Healleux went clear to share the Puissance win with William Whitaker at the Olympia Horse Show.
Irish rider Pender, the youngest in the competition aged only 20, went clear five times up to a height of 7ft 2in with Hearton Du Bois Halleux. Remarkably, the same combination won the famous Hickstead Derby in June.
As @nickluck says: “What a horse.” Hearton Du Bois and Michael Pender - won the Hickstead Derby back in June and now takes the Olympia Puissance to add to his trophy cabinet. 🏆
Some effort! 👏🏼✈️ #ProperOne
— VANESSA BINNIE RYLE (@V_Binnie_Ryle) December 18, 2019
Whitaker won the Olympia event twelve years ago aged just 18 and in another remarkable feat on the evening, his horse RMF Charly was competing in his first international Puissance competition.
It was a deep field although just three riders made it to round five. Last year's winner Mr. Blue Sky and Guy Williams made their only mistake of the evening when appearing to get their final stride wrong approaching the wall and brushing off the top brick.
The situation added to the drama, as Williams had jumped first. Whitaker was next in on RMF Charly. Both the horse and rider were remarkably calm to clear the wall in an efficient fashion.
William Whitaker and Michael Pender conquer the 7ft 2in Cayenne Puissance wall on the third night of #OlympiaHorse2019!
Flying the flag for GB and Ireland these two young riders had the sold-out crowd on the edge of their seats 😲
Congralutions @Will_Whit89 & Michael Pender. pic.twitter.com/kFft1AmAy3
— The London International Horse Show (@LondonHorseShow) December 18, 2019
That put the pressure on Pender and Hearton Du Bois Halleux, an error would leave them in a share of second. There was no error.
Pender and his stallion cleared the triple bar with aplomb before slowing to a trot taking the tight left-hand turn towards the wall.
The pair accelerated to the wall, found the right stride pattern and cleared it with the minimum to spare. For the only time of the evening, Pender broke into a smile pulling off his hat and waving to the crowd.
Afterward, the Kildare rider said his horse "jumped it easy". It's another spectacular achievement by Pender, who became the youngest winner of a Hickstead Derby this summer, adds the Puissance title in his first-ever appearance at the Olympia Horse Show.