Brash gallops to London victory
After winning team gold for Great Britain at the 2012 London Olympics, Brash raced to his second straight victory in the London leg of the Longines Global Champions Tour (LGCT).
Held inside the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, by the river Thames, Brash and his young horse Hello Mr President went full throttle in a seven-horse jump-off to win in a time of 38.88 seconds.
“I’m absolutely delighted,” Brash said in a ring-side interview after booking his second win of the season. “It was a bit unexpected to be honest, because he is a young horse, he’s a fantastic horse, but I didn’t expect that he was ready to be able to win this Grand Prix.”
Maher remains overall leader
The long and technical sandy course, set by Uliano Vezzani, suited the strong galloping Hello Mr President, a nine-year-old bay gelding who soared over the final oxer almost one second faster than Sweden’s Peder Fredricson with Hansson WL, and more than two seconds clear of four-time Olympic champion Ludger Beerbaum of Germany with Casello.
Britain’s Ben Maher would have won the event if it hadn’t been for his horse Explosion W dropping a pole at the penultimate fence before finishing in 38.82 seconds, which was the fastest time in the jump-off.
Maher, who finished in fourth place in London, remains the overall LGCT leader with 270 points, followed by Dutchman Harrie Smolders with 234 points and Australia’s Edwina Tops-Alexander with 212 points. Brash moved up six spots to No. 6.
Next Gen horse
Brash had been the last rider to qualify for the Longines Global Champions Tour after the team event earlier on Saturday, yet he ended up winning the competition having started the jump-off as the first rider.
“It’s amazing to win here in London in front of this amazing crowd, they really give us British riders an unbelievable reception when we come in and out,” said Brash, who started riding when his father gave him and his sister a pony when he was seven.
Brash began the season with a win in Mexico City with his experienced 17-year-old mare, Ursula.
“Ursula is an unbelievable horse, but it is just great to have the next generation coming through to help her out,” said Brash. “The future is bright for us.”
Earlier on Saturday, the London Knights became the only team to win their home competition this season when Maher and Belgium’s Nicola Philippaerts produced a double clear to clinch the Global Champions League team event. The Shanghai Swans were in second place with four penalties while American rider Jessica Springsteen and RMF Swinny du Parc helped Miami Celtics clinch third place with a clear round as her father, the rock star Bruce Springsteen, watched from the stands.
Their fourth win of the season meant the Knights extended their lead in the overall classification to 299 points, or 38 points ahead of Valkenswaard United and 93 point clear of the Celtics.
The next leg of the LGCT will be held in Valkenswaard, the Netherlands, between August 10-12.