Michael Whitaker takes the Olympia Grand Prix amid controversy

By Charles Taylor on |


Michael Whitaker takes the Olympia Grand Prix

Bertram Allen looks set to appeal against the controversial decision that cost him victory in the London International Horse Show’s Olympia Grand Prix.

Irish star Allen romped to victory, clocking a remarkable time of 30.45 seconds on Quiet Easy to leave 14 jump-off rivals trailing in his wake.

Confusion then initially reigned in the collecting ring arena, the prize presentation was delayed, and then it emerged that Allen had been disqualified after blood was spotted on one of the horse’s flanks.

The rider and the horse’s connections were left visibly stunned as runner-up Michael Whitaker and Viking were promoted to top spot, collecting an £18,300 first prize, with German pair Ludger Beerbaum and Marcus Ehning finishing second and third.

All horses are checked by the steward after they have jumped, with the steward then alerting the ground jury if he felt there might be a problem.

“I am utterly devastated, just speechless,” Allen told www.horseandhound.co.uk.

“I have a fantastic relationship with all of my horses, and their welfare is paramount.

“My foot must have slipped against Quiet Easy’s side as I was riding against the clock. He’s a sensitive horse and it was just a tiny nick.”

The show’s final day proved to be one of unexpected drama, with Norway’s Victoria Gulliksen earlier being disqualified from the International Six Bar competition.

Gulliksen had tied for victory with Spain’s Eduardo Alvarez Aznar, but Olympia later said that the 23-year-old should not have entered the competition. She had an invitation only for Thursday’s Alltech Puissance at Olympia.
The event’s ground jury spotted the error, but it was too late to take action. Gulliksen was subsequently disqualified under the competition rules.

The Holly Speed Stakes, meanwhile, went to Switzerland’s Pius Schwizer following a thrilling class when just 60 hundredths of a second separated the top four finishers.

Image: Michael Whitaker by Jason Wharam via Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0


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