William Funnell: Let’s hope we can do it without Sanctos [H&H VIP]

  • Scott Brash has decided it is not in the best interests of Hello Sanctos to jump in the European Championships at Aachen.

    It takes place only 10 days before the final leg of the Rolex grand slam in Calgary and he doesn’t believe the horse can do both. With the tremendous effort and preparation a championship entails, I would have to agree with him.

    You can’t deny that with Scott’s hit rate he has a good chance of securing the €1m (£720,000) bonus at Spruce Meadows. All he has to do is canter into the ring and he collects €500,000 (£360,000) for having already won two of the three majors back to back. It would seem ridiculous not to safeguard that.

    Although bad news for the British team, Scott’s bid for the grand slam has its advantages for the sport. The fact that Sanctos has already won around £4m is great for showjumping, great for sponsors and great for me as a producer. When a horse can do that, prices always improve.

    Even without Hello Sanctos, Scott can’t be ruled out completely. He won at Monte Carlo with Hello M’Lady, who is available for the Nations Cup at Hickstead. If he can continue their form there and at Dublin, he still may have a part to play in the European team.

    If Scott jumps at Hickstead, it will be his first Nations Cup this year, which reflects the difficult decisions faced by top riders when every weekend there is a show with £100,000 on offer. With 15 Global Champions Tour dates, the Rolex grand slam, Paris masters and the World Cup, you can understand saving a horse for the money.

    Strength in depth

    Of the top-ranked riders only Ben Maher has jumped on a squad this year, but we have still had strong results. Di Lampard has surprised us with the depth we have available and there are so many good riders coming through.

    It’s nice that we haven’t had to rely on Scott but when it comes down to championship level he has demonstrated he can perform under pressure — and as our last shot at Olympic qualification there will be plenty of that in Aachen.

    While Scott may get there as an individual, you have to remember that it was by winning a team medal in London that he laid the foundations for where he is today. Let’s hope we can do it without him.

    While on home soil…

    I anticipated that the new rankings lists would not help our county shows but entries have been better than ever. It seems a lot of riders are seeing the gold league and International Stairways as a route into Horse of the Year Show (HOYS).

    Nigel Coupe, who leads the Stairway and is lying second in the gold league, will be going to Falsterbo — replacing William Whitaker — for the Nations Cup, and it has been encouraging to see our team manager giving people opportunities based on these national results.

    Hickstead saw another great Derby meeting with 15,000 in attendance on the Sunday. It was good to see the live-streaming picked up by so many viewers. Less than 30,000 watched last year’s Sky coverage but more than 58,000 viewers from 68 countries watched online.

    Ref: Horse & Hound; 9 July 2015