High British hopes for Tokyo after spectacular last-minute victory

Britain’s Scott Brash says he has high hopes for next summer’s Olympics, after he posted a spectacular World Cup victory on his European Championships ride.

Scott and Hello M’Lady won the fourth leg of the 2019/20 western European league in Verona, Italy, on Sunday (10 November) from last draw, just beating Ireland’s Darragh Kenny on Romeo into second place.

“I was fortunate enough to be at the end so I could see how fast I had to go,” Scott said. “Darragh had done a really good round, he was very, very fast so I had to take all the risks today – M’Lady was really fantastic and I’m delighted with her.”

Darragh’s jump-off time of 36.06 seconds looked fast enough to secure the victory, especially when world number one Steve Guerdat finished just behind him on 36.19 seconds, on Alamo.

But Scott and the 13-year-old mare were clearly in the lead en route to the last, finishing on 35.55 seconds.

“I finished second here in Verona a couple of years ago [with Ursula] so it’s great to go one better here this time around!” he said.

“M’Lady is a delicate mare, she can get a little stressed with the atmosphere so it took me a bit of time at this show just to get her relaxed in the collecting ring, but her talent showed through in the end in the jump-off today – I thought she was amazing.”

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Asked if he had Tokyo in his sights for the mare, Scott said: “Yes, the Olympics is certainly on my mind and I would hope M’Lady is going to be one of my strongest contenders for next year.”

Scott said M’Lady had been off for “quite a while” injured in the past, but had fully recovered to help secure Britain’s Olympic qualification at this summer’s Europeans, after which he dropped her down a level, stepping back up in Verona.

“It’s nice to feel that she feels competitive at the top end of the sport again – so I’ve high hopes for next year!” he said.

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