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Scott Brash makes LGCT history amid jubilation in London as Ben Maher extends overall lead

Sunday, 05 August 2018
CSI5* LGCT London 2018

Photo (c) LGCT/Stefano Grasso
Scott Brash and Hello Mr President won the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of London presented by Sapinda. Photo (c) LGCT/Stefano Grasso.

Scott Brash (GBR) made history at the Royal Hospital Chelsea winning the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of London presented by Sapinda for the second year running.

To jubilation in the sold-out grandstands the British Olympic gold medallist has now won the most number of LGCT Grand Prix ever. 

Piloting the 9-year-old gelding Hello Mr President (Comme d’Api VD Hacienda x breeding unknown), Scott delivered a breathtaking performance in front of his home crowd, taking his eleventh LGCT Grand Prix win ahead of Peder Fredricson (SWE) and Ludger Beerbaum (GER). Ludger now joins the illustrious line up of show jumping superstars for Longines Global Champions Tour Super Grand Prix at the GC Playoffs. 

Scott has taken his second win of the 2018 season and has shot back up to sixth on the overall ranking as the LGCT-championship accelerates to the season finale, with the potential to realise his hope of securing a never-before achieved third title.

Ben Maher (GBR) has extended his overall ranking lead, with a points tally of 270 in total, now 38 points from his closest rival. Harrie Smolders (NED) keeps hold of second with 234 points overall, and Edwina Tops-Alexander (AUS) keeps third with a score of 212.

Uliano Vezzani set a big track for today’s LGCT Grand Prix of London - full height at the maximum 1.60m and requiring scopey horses who took a lot of care when they reached the fences. A delicate Sapinda vertical as well as a “Big Ben” winged skinny required absolute precision, with an imposing Longines treble set towards the in-gate asked complete focus, power and care in equal measure. The last line gave the option of six or seven strides, giving riders the choice best suited to their horses.

First to go Scott Brash had all the pressure on his shoulders - the 2017 LGCT Grand Prix of London winner this time riding his enthusiastic gelding Hello Mr President, and watched by owners Lady Harris and Lady Kirkham. And the “Iceman” delivered, the epitome of grace under pressure with fans on the edge of their seats as they willed their home rider to a clear, and the young horse responding magnificently to Brash’s careful requests. 

Brash returned to the ring for a seven horse-and-rider jump-off, setting off at a gallop as silence dropped around the arena. Brash gave it his all, riding Hello Mr President magnificently to deliver yet another clear, taking a chance at the last, but stopping the clock in 38.88s and setting the pace for those behind him.

Multiple Olympian Ludger Beerbaum (GER) flew around the arena with Casello (Casall x Carolus I), but the pair couldn’t match the British rider’s time and finished a couple of seconds down in 41.15s. British hopes were dashed after Michael Whitaker (GBR) clipped a pole with El Wee Widge (breeding unknown), and then it started to unravel as the “Big Ben” fence fell, with the pair finishing on 12 faults.

Peder Fredricson (SWE) pulled out all the stops with Hansson WL (Hip Hop x Iowa), matching Scott on turns and strides. But his horse was not as naturally quick as Hello Mr President, and he had to settle for second with a time of 39.84s. Poles down for Denis Lynch and Harry Charles ruled them out of contention, with all eyes turning to Ben Maher (GBR) to see if history would repeat his and Scott’s showdown from 2017.

Ben’s chestnut horse Explosion W (Chacco-Blue x Baloubet du Rouet) jumped the course effortlessly, fast across the ground and up on time. But the penultimate fence tumbled, as the crowd groaned, and the pair finished off the podium despite clocking an impressive time of 38.82s, agonisingly quick enough to have taken the win.

So it would be a British win, with Scott Brash taking his second LGCT Grand Prix of the season and handing Ludger Beerbaum a coveted ticket to the GC Prague Playoffs where he will compete in the Longines Global Champions Tour Super Grand Prix.

"Luck was on my side today for sure," Brash said. "I thought my horse jumped fantastic. In the first round I think he just saw the line up the side and that took him by surprise and had the back rail of the red and white, then in doing so it made he very careful. He is a very careful horse anyway and I really had no chance jumping out of the combination. But he finished off very well. I was going to swap horses but then I decided to stay on him because I thought he finished off the first round so well. I was unsure with how he would cope after having two big faults because he is so careful. But his Grand Prix felt fantastic, he was a little but more tired so easier for me to ride - he just jumped amazing I am delighted with him. I always knew he was quality but you never know if they have the scope to do these big courses until you are actually in there doing it. I thought he was a year off winning a big Grand Prix like this but I'm hungry to win in front of my home crowd and I try my best and he just gave me everything today."

"I must say Uliano Vezzani has done an amazing job, it is getting harder and harder to build that course to get 7 clears when the standard is so high. To be honest I didn’t think I had done enough. I am very aware of how quick my horse is and you have to ride him forward so that makes him even quicker, it’s the way he likes to be ridden. So that helps with the speed, but I did think I was a little slow back to the black oxer and I thought Ben would beat me. He did do the time and as he said luck wasn’t on his side today. I wasn’t sure I was going to win from the front but delighted with the way the horse jumped the jump off," Brash concluded.


Press release from LGCT

Picture © LGCT/Stefano Grasso

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