Britain’s Nick Skelton and Ben Maher have both qualified for the Rio Olympic individual showjumping final on Friday.
The top 35 riders start on a clean slate in the individual medal decider, so faults from the competition so far do not count — which is advantageous for the Brits, who have both had some penalties through the week so far, but will hope for clean sheets on Friday to give them a chance of individual medals.
Ben Maher jumped a clear round today to secure his spot with Jane Forbes Clark’s Tic Tac. The pair incurred just one time-fault — the clock was a major factor in today’s competition.
“We’re getting better as the days go on, ” said Ben. “We’ve had a rough week — we really believed we could come here and put in a good performance with the team and things just didn’t go our way yesterday.
“Michael’s horse couldn’t jump today anyway and it just wasn’t meant to be, so myself and Nick had to try to redeem ourselves and keep ourselves in there for Friday. I feel my horse is jumping better every day so if he keeps progressing from this with a day off tomorrow I’ll be quietly confident on Friday.”
Nick Skelton just had the vertical middle element of the treble at fence 11abc down with Beverley Widdowson’s Big Star.
“The horse is jumping really good and he didn’t do a lot wrong,” said Nick.
Riders had an option of six or seven strides in the distance between the oxer at fence five and the double of planks at fence 6ab and Nick opted for seven with Big Star.
“I was always going to go on seven with him — it’s a short inside distance [the two strides in the double]. You didn’t want to be getting in too quick and he does take the strides quite quickly,” he said.