Brash makes strong Games claim

25 May 2012 / 19:34

Scott Brash pressed his Olympic equestrian selection claims with a faultless Nations Cup display for Great Britain in Rome.

The Peebles-based showjumper guided his new horse Hello Sanctos to clear rounds in both phases of a competition won emphatically by London team gold medal favourites Germany.

Nick Skelton and Ben Maher are expected to pin down two of the four places among Britain's quartet for London, but Brash now also looks a strong bet.

Sanctos, bought for him before Christmas by loyal British showjumping supporters Lady Harris and Lady Kirkham, had a Nations Cup debut to savour. But it was an otherwise disappointing afternoon for Britain in the Villa Borghese sunshine as they slumped to an equal-sixth finish overall with Holland.

Will Funnell had a miserable time on Billy Angelo, posting nine and 12 faults, while anchorman Peter Charles followed a first round containing four faults with 12 on Murka's Vindicat W.

Tina Fletcher went close to matching Brash's effort, only to have the last fence down in each round on Hello Sailor.

"Scott jumped two world-class rounds with Sanctos, which is a huge positive," Great Britain team manager Rob Hoekstra said. "And it was great to see Tina with Hello Sailor back at this level for the first time this year, jumping as well as they are despite having the last fence down.

"Peter and Vindicat jumped a very good first round, but Vindicat perhaps looked a little tired in the second round and was lacking a little fitness at this level early on in the season.

"Will and Billy Angelo were unfortunate in the first round which resulted in Will needing to over-ride him slightly in the second round, incurring faults."

Michael Whitaker, John Whitaker and Tim Stockdale, who is back in the saddle after breaking his neck only seven months ago, are all set for their opportunities when the Nations Cup moves to St Gallen in Switzerland next Friday.