Ben Maher and Laura Renwick take the plaudits at Olympia

Maher leads GB one-two at Olympia

Britain's Ben Maher claimed success in the grand prix finale of the London International Horse Show at Olympia.

Olympic gold medallist Maher came out on top on Tripple X III, just ahead of fellow Briton John Whitaker in second.

Despite the win, it was not enough for Maher to regain top spot in the world rankings from Scotland's Scott Brash.

There was further success for Britain as Laura Renwick was named leading rider of the show, which rewards the most consistent performer.

Maher, who also won this year's King George V Gold Cup at Hickstead on the same horse, posted a time of 31.85 seconds to take the £22,500 top prize.

Whitaker, 58, ran him closest with a time of 31.92 on Argento, while France's Penelope Leprevost came third.

"It took until now to jump a clear round," said Maher. "I had struggled a bit the whole week and made mistakes I don't normally make.

"It has been pretty tough. I took the morning off, had a wander around London, did a bit of Christmas shopping and changed the plan a bit for this and he jumped great."

Renwick, 38, finished four points clear of her nearest rival, Sweden's Peder Fredricson, in the leading rider contest, while William Funnell was the next best Britain in fourth.

Earlier, Michael Whitaker missed out on victory in the Christmas Masters after knocking down the final fence in the jump-off.

The Briton was last to go on Elie van de Kolmen and was just ahead of eventual winner Maikel van der Vleuten when he clipped the fence at Olympia.

"She sort of misunderstood what I was trying to do going into the last," explained Whittaker. "But she really is the part and I have some big plans for her next year."

Van Der Vleuten's victory, which earned him £10,500, comes just 24 hours after he also won the London World Cup leg.

The Dutchman, riding VDL Groep Eureka, clocked 26.32 seconds in the jump-off, a stage that only he and Whitaker reached following four rounds in a seven-rider competition.

Britons Renwick and William Funnell finished equal third.

Germany's Marco Kutscher won the Six Bar competition, to follow up his victory in the Ivy Stakes on Saturday.

Pius Schwizer and Lars Nieberg shared second place, while British duo Pippa Funnell and John Whitaker finished equal fourth.

Maher and Tripple X are at the centre of a legal dispute between the rider and long-term backers Mike and Emma Phillips.

The BBC revealed earlier this month that the couple are suing him, claiming he made more than £700,000 in secret profits on horse deals, but Maher is fighting the action and insists the pair actually owe him money.


Monday, 23 December: Highlights, 14:05-15:05 BBC Two & online

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