Britain’s Scott Brash is still in the hunt for the overall Longines Global Champions Tour series title — but only just.
The championship is decided after tonight’s grand prix (14 November) at Al Shaqab, Doha. The top 18 from the first round qualify for the second round and Scott is sitting in 18th place after the first round.
The world number one and Hello Sanctos rattled the back bar of fence seven, but it stayed put. However, their luck ran out at the influential double at fence nine and the front pole fell on the oxer out of the combination.
Eight riders went clear, three of them with time-faults. The fastest four-faulters join them in the second round and Scott, who jumped from 28th draw in a class of 45, had an anxious wait to see if he would be fast enough to make it through. He did — but in 18th place, so he will be first to jump in the next round.
Scott’s two rivals for the overall title both went clear. Portugal’s Luciana Diniz put in the fastest clear with Fit For Fun so will jump last, straight after Sweden’s Rolf-Göran Bengtsson, who managed the second-fastest fault-free round with Casall ASK.
To take the overall title, Rolf has to win the class, with Scott and Luciana placed fourth or lower. Assuming Rolf does not win the class, Luciana has to finish a minimum of fifth and ahead of Scott to take the series.
The other three British riders failed to qualify for the next round. Michael Whitaker hit the front bars of the oxers at fences seven and 13 with Viking and his brother John also faulted at fence seven with Ornellaia, as well as incurring a time-fault. Ben Maher and Diva II lowered fences six, seven and eight.
Ireland has one combination through to the next round — Bertram Allen sped on after having fence 9b down with Molly Malone V and recorded the fastest performance with four faults.
Check back later for a final update on the GCT Final from Doha. Full report in H&H magazine next week, out Thursday, 19 November.