Our last combination Ben Maher and Explosion W, whose superb performances on Tuesday (3 August) and Wednesday (4 August) earned them the individual gold medal, were unlucky to hit just one fence in an otherwise faultless round on the tough team qualifier course to secure Britain a spot in tomorrow’s (7 August) final.
“I was happy with Explosion,” Ben said. “[He did] a very fast round of jumping the other day and he’s a horse that gets more careful the faster he goes so it’s about giving him confidence. It’s important that he’s jumping across the oxers and maybe just there I just left him a bit on his own, and I can help him a little bit more.
“But I was told by Scott Brash before we went in that we had a bit of a margin to make the team final tomorrow, and I could take it a little bit easier on Explosion. It sounds crazy in this level of competition, but I could give him a little bit of an easier round, and if we have a mistake we’ll still make the final so it was enough and tomorrow’s a new day.”
Ben noted that Explosion was one of only about eight horses who had gone on five strides to the planks at the end of the course, adding: “He has laser vision! He can see those planks and he measures them, and the five was always the right option for me.”
Ben said he had not yet had much chance to celebrate his amazing achievement winning individual gold, as there was only one day between that and today’s team competition.
“We still do have a job to do here and we’re going to be coming out fighting tomorrow,” he said.
Holly Smith and Denver had been British pathfinders, also finishing on four faults, then Harry Charles and Romeo 88 clocked up 12, giving a final team total of 20. All three finished inside the time allowed, which had caught out a number of combinations. Britain finished seventh overall.
All 10 teams that qualified for the final start on zero scores tomorrow; today’s faults do not carry over. Their relevance is to decide the starting order so Sweden, who finished without a single fault, will be last to go. Britain will be fourth in the rider rotations.
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