Alberto Zorzi first Italian to win Olympia Grand Prix
Olympia Horse Show came to a thrilling close with the Turkish Airlines Grand Prix, which was won by Italy’s Alberto Zorzi.
There were twelve clears in the first round, three of which were riding on home turf. The nine other combinations were from Italy, the Netherlands, Austria, France, Sweden, USA and Switzerland.
Guy Williams was the first of the Brits in the jump-off, but Rouge de Ravel took a dislike to the rather unusual wall, which was adorned with a huge painting (it could have been a Stubbs, classical art isn’t our forte).
Michael Whitaker was on flying form and set the standard on JB’s Hot Stuff, with a fast clear in a time of 34.30sec to take an early lead.
Having put the pressure on, Michael forced other riders into making mistakes and it looked like he would hold on to his place. However, Harrie Smolders managed to shave 600th of a second of Michael’s time, moving him down to second place.
The Dutch rider would have been faster but Zinius stumbled, and nearly fell, making a turn after the second fence.
The leaderboard changed once again, when Alberto Zorzi risked everything to cross the finish line in a time of 34.05sec and claim the title. This is the first time in history an Italian has won the Grand Prix at Olympia.
This put Harrie Smolders in second place and Michael third. Harrie’s runner-up spot was enough to secure his Leading Rider Award, having already won and been placed earlier in the week.
You can watch highlights of Olympia 2017: Grand Prix when it premieres on 1 January at 9pm on Sky 253 or online via H&C Play or Amazon Video. The programme will then be available on Catch Up.