Ben Maher in pole position ahead of showjumping final: two Brits in the mix for individual medals

  • Ben Maher will be the last rider to jump on the final day of the Longines FEI European Showjumping Championships as he aims to add an individual gold medal to Britain’s team bronze.

    The last time Britain won individual showjumping gold at a European Championships was exactly 30 years ago in the same city. The 1989 medal was won by John Whitaker and Milton.

    The individual final gets underway in Rotterdam at 1pm (noon BST) and Britain has two riders still in the mix for medals — Ben aboard Explosion W and Holly Smith with Hearts Destiny.

    All three rounds that combinations have jumped so far will count and competitors jump a further two rounds this afternoon to decide the medals.

    Two combinations from Ireland had qualified for today’s final, but both have withdrawn in order to focus on securing Olympic team qualification at Barcelona in October.

    These were Peter Moloney and Chianti’s Champion, who was in 13th position and just over a fence away from the medals, and Darragh Kenny with Balou Du Reventon, who was lying 17th.

    The top 25 individuals have qualified for the first round of today’s final. The places pass down the line should individuals withdraw, so the first combination into the ring will be Denmark’s Soren Moeller Rohde and Todt Un Price Ask who were in 36th position.

    There have been no withdrawals so far from any competitors in the top 10.

    Holly has been drawn 14th to go and starts on a score of 8.62 penalties. Defending individual champions Peder Fredricson and H&M All In follow two riders later.

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    Belgium, fresh from securing team gold on Friday, have all four team riders through to the individual final as do team silver medal winners Germany.

    Less than one fence separates the top three, with team gold medallist Jos Verlooy (Igor) and Switzerland’s Martin Fuchs (Clooney 51) sitting in provisional silver and bronze.

    The top 12 riders after the first round today will go forward to the second, which starts at 3.30pm (2.30pm BST).

    Live coverage is scheduled on the BBC red button from 11.45am (BST) today (Sunday, 25 August).

    For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday

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