“I wanted to win, but if I was going to be beaten by anyone I was hoping it would be Scott!” he said.
There were 13 into the jump-off, and it was Sweden’s Malin Baryard-Johnsson who set the pace with H&M Cue Channa who hit only the very last. Seventh to go, Maher produced the first clear in 38.85 seconds before America’s Laura Kraut and Zeremonie and John Whitaker and Ornellaia followed with foot-perfect runs but couldn’t catch him. Philippaerts, whose famous father Ludo won this prestigious competition with the legendary Darco 27 years ago, came close when breaking the beam in 39.07 seconds, but it was Brash who demoted his fellow-countryman when second-last to go.
“Ben was very fast back to the double, and it was on a blind turn which was tricky for the horses, so we had to be quick to beat him!” Brash said, after galloping home in 38.73 seconds.
And when it fell apart for Germany’s Marcus Ehning and his Madrid-leg winner Comme Il Faut who were last to go, it was an all-British one-two.
“It’s very special to win in front of the home crowd, they were really behind us and it gives you that extra edge!” said Brash who now has the series Final in his sights. “I’ve never really targeted it in the past because the calendar is so full and there’s often a championship, but I’m very fortunate to have a strong team, all coming back from injury, including Hello Sanctos”, he added.
Result: 1, Hello M’Lady (Scott Brash) GBR 0/0 38.73; 2, Diva ll (Ben Maher) GBR 0/0 38.85; 3, H&M Harley vd Bisschop (Nicola Philippaerts) BEL 0/39.07; 4, Zeremonia (Laura Kraut) USA 0/0 39.63; 5, Ornellaia (John Whitaker) GBR 0/0 39.70; 6, Limestone Grey (Lorenzo de Luca) ITA 0/4 39.10; 7, H&M Cue Channa (Malin Baryard-Johnsson) SWE 0/4 41.17; 8, Quenelle du Py (Olivier Robert) FRA 0/4 41.57; 9. Equita van T Zorgvliet (Daniel Deusser) GER 0/8 41.21; 10, Casallo Z (Piergiorgio Bucci) ITA 0/8 41.59; 11, California (Edwina Tops-Alexander) AUS 0/8 43.97; 12, Chacco’s Son (Maurice Tebbel) GER 0/8 44.27.
Full result here
Scott Brash GBR (1st): Talking about Hello M’Lady –
“She’s a wonderful horse, really talented, she jumped really well in Geneva last week but we were unlucky, you have to get everything right on the day. My next outing is in Liverpool for the New Year, it’s great to get another 4-Star event in our country so I’m very happy to support it.”
Ben Maher GBR (2nd):
“Diva jumped great, she loves this show. Congratulations to Scott – I couldn’t have done any more, and I’d have been happy with sixth!”
Nicola Philippaerts (3rd):
“It’s fantastic to be sitting here with these two great riders! My horse jumped well and I’m very happy. My father (Ludo Philippaerts) came to help me and it’s a big advantage to have him here at the big shows.”
Kelvin Bywater GBR, Course Designer:
“I was extremely pleased, we had good sport and good entertainment. It’s a team effort.”
John Roche, FEI Jumping Director:
“Olympia, under the management of Simon Brooks-Ward, ran an amazing event which is one of the flagship fixtures of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Western European League.”
Scott Brash GBR (1st):
“The courses nowadays are big and technical and Kelvin (course designer Kelvin Bywater) did a wonderful job but some horses will just skip round whatever the builder puts up!”