December 15 - Dutch dressage star Edward Gal (pictured) completed the first part of a possible Olympia double on the opening night of the London International Horse Show.

Gal and the brilliant Moorlands Totilas were crowned European freestyle champions in world record fashion at Windsor just over three months ago.

And they launched the week-long Olympia event by turning the tables on Dutch rivals Adelinde Cornelissen and Parzival in tonight's FEI World Cup Grand Prix qualifier.

Cornelissen took European Grand Prix glory, nudging Gal and Moorlands into the silver medal position, but she could not manage a repeat performance.

Gal's score of 83.66 per cent secured the £1,800 first prize, with Cornelissen second on 81.27 per cent.

Carl Hester and Liebling II headed the British challenge in third place with 72.21 per cent, ahead of fourth-ranked Laura Bechtolsheimer and Andretti H with 70.76 per cent.

Thirteen competitors from six countries took part, and Gal is firm favourite to land tomorrow night's World Cup Freestyle qualifier in front of a sell-out crowd.

Showjumping begins on Thursday, with nine of the world's top-25 ranked riders among those taking part in five days of action when a total purse of just under £280,000 will be available.

The British challenge for honours will be headed by in-form Ben Maher and Michael Whitaker, although Michael's brother John misses Olympia this year while he continues his recovery from a broken ankle.