British showjumper Scott Brash admits he has surprised himself by the speed of his rise to become world No 1.
Brash and world No 2 – his fellow British London 2012 gold medallist Ben Maher – will be among a high-class field in today’s Longines FEI World Cup class at the London International Horse Show at the Olympia Exhibition Hall.
Maher is among the list of previous Olympia World Cup winners, and his battle with 28-year-old Scot Brash will underline the unprecedented feelgood factor currently engulfing British showjumping.
With Britain holding Olympic and European team titles simultaneously – a feat only previously achieved by Germany – Brash and Maher also winning European individual medals this year and Brash being crowned overall Global Champions Tour winner, both riders are at the peak of their powers.
Brash, who only made his senior Great Britain debut little more than three years ago, has enjoyed sustained success on his top horses Hello Sanctos and Ursula, both owned by his established backers, Lady Kirkham and Lord and Lady Harris.
Sanctos, second in the Geneva grand prix behind reigning Olympic champion Steve Guerdat last weekend, is rested this time round, with Brash making his London challenge on Ursula.
“I didn’t think I could get to No 1 as quickly as I have,” said Peebles-based Brash. “It was always my main aim after the Olympics, but I didn’t think it would happen a year later. I thought it would take four or five years.
“Everything has to go right, but I am just very fortunate to have the owners behind me that I do, the horses that I have and the people behind me. That’s what makes it the success it is.
“Every sportsman and sportswoman, I think their ultimate goal is to try and become No 1 in their sport and be the best they can be.
“To achieve that goal means a lot. All the hard work put in by all my team throughout the years has paid off, and I am very grateful for everyone’s help for helping me get where I am today.”
In yesterday’s action, Laura Renwick gave Great Britain their first winner at this year’s event when she landed the Earls Court Olympia Christmas Cracker. The 38-year-old Essex rider triumphed with Oz de Breve, the horse on which she will contest today’s Longines FEI World Cup qualifier.
Their time of 48.67 seconds in the one-round speed class edged out in-form Swede Peder Fredricson, who had to be content with second place aboard H&M Sibon.
And it meant the sizeable British contingent broke its winning duck on the third day of competition.