LGCT podium. From left to right: Ben Maher, Scott Brash, Denis Lynch. ph: LGCT/Stefano Grasso
In an arena surrounded by his fellow countrymen, Great Britain’s Scott Brash secured his second win of the day aboard the 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding Hello Forever (For Pleasure x Nimmerdor). With a double clear round and a speedy jump off time of 38.62s, Brash finished 1st on the podium in the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix CSI5* of London.
On Saturday, August 5, the qualifying round for the grand prix took place immediately prior in the Global Champions League CSI5* Final of London. There, Brash and teammate Denis Lynch of the Miami Glory secured a team victory with a timely, leading round at the Royal Hospital Chelsea. A clear ride granted the teammates individual positions in the grand prix, with Brash choosing to continue aboard Hello Forever.
“It’s been a great day and I am absolutely delighted,” said Brash. “It was a very fast jump-off, but thankfully Hello Forever pricked his ears and went for it. He is an incredible horse and he really did his best for me; you have to be on your toes when you’re riding him, but he’s fast and athletic. I love winning in front of a home crowd and this has been an amazing venue.”
Italy’s Uliano Vezzani set the 13-obstacle-track for the 24 competitors who qualified. The riders were vying for a coveted spot in the jump off aboard the technical, 1.60 course.
In an unfortunate end to his 62nd birthday, Great Britian’s own John Whitaker suffered a fall after the nine-year-old Holsteiner stallion Cassinis Chaplin (Cassini I x Cascavelle) refused a fence. He was taken to the hospital for a routine medical check and is said to be doing okay.
11 of the original pairs went clear to make it through to the shortened, jump off track, with Brash and Hello Forever finishing in 1st.
“I’m very happy with the day. Obviously, our thoughts are all with John, but it sounds like its good news for him going forward,” said Brash. “I think it was even more important then, to try and get a British win and it’s great to get a one and two in the home leg. [Hello Forever is] an incredible horse. He jumps when you get there, he’s fast and he’s athletic. He’s got everything and he gave his all today. I must say Ben did have me sweating there at the end! I saw that a few horses went 8 strides one to two, but I didn’t feel it suited my horse. I was already going to go 9 one to two, and knew I was going to be a bit behind. I thought I needed a good turn, and kept it as fast as I could all the way home. I managed to see a good forward distance, and luckily Forever pricked his ears and really went for it.”
The home court advantage continued for fellow countryman Ben Maher, who produced a 2nd place finish aboard the 10-year-old Oldenburg mare MTF Madame X (Continio x Corland) with a time of 38.68s.
“I had a good start to the day with Don Vito and then decided to make the change,” said Maher. “This was my second show on Madame. It hasn’t been working for me using the same horse in the GP, so I made the change and my horse jumped incredibly today. I don’t know what more I could have done in the jump-off. I said to Scott that maybe if I ate a little less last night then maybe I could’ve been quicker! Scott is one of the fastest riders in the world, and if I was going to be beaten by anybody, then for sure a home win is always good for the sport in our country. It’s always great to ride here and see the support. I think it will only grow in the next few years. It’s an amazing venue and everything is good for the horses and the riders. I really enjoyed it, and again, just congratulations to Scott.”
In 3rd place, coming off of his team win for the Miami Glory, Ireland’s Denis Lynch and the 14-year-old Hanoverian stallion All Star 5 (Argentinus x Alme) finished with a time of 39.35s.
“I’ve got two great horses so expectations are quite high for things to go well,” said Lynch. “I’m delighted with both horses. He’s not the quickest horse, we’re all aware of that, but it went my way. I’m delighted with my horse, and on to the next one.”
For the full results, click this link.
For the overall LGCT rankings, click this link.