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Show jumping: Brash aims to be top of the world

Scott Brash, the Olympic showjumping gold medallist, is planning to set up a base outside Scotland to enhance his chances of becoming world No 1.

Scott Brash believes he will have to move his base away from Scotland to fulfil his ambition   Photograph: Getty
Scott Brash believes he will have to move his base away from Scotland to fulfil his ambition Photograph: Getty

The 27-year-old rider from Peebles, part of the four-man team who won a nerve-shredding jump-off at Greenwich Park against the Netherlands at London 2012, has decided finding a home for his horses either in England or on the continent is vital if he is to mount a serious challenge to reach the pinnacle of his sport.

The world tour is demanding as competitions are held weekly in all corners of the globe. Recently the British No 1 and world No 8 has darted between Oslo, Helsinki, Vienna and Abu Dhabi and he will barely take a day off over Christmas. Despite the hectic schedule and limited time spent on Scottish soil, Brash maintains that home is where the heart is.

"I'm based in Peebles. It's pretty on the go, one country one day and then back home another day," said Brash, who won't have to travel too far this week, as he will be appearing at the London International Horse Show at Olympia, where he will be one of the favourites.

"Realistically I will probably look to buy a small yard in Holland or Belgium for my top horses because it's too much travel for them, they need a rest too. I rented a yard last year and will probably do the same this year, but in time I will probably look to buy something. But I do love Scotland and I think I will always live there."

Having won team gold in London with some of the legends of show jumping, Nick Skelton, Ben Maher, and Peter Charles, and finished joint fifth in the individual event, Brash is young, talented and now "horsed" enough to set his sights on being world No 1. "I love doing what I do. When you have top horses you have to keep working hard," he said. "And if you want to be No 1 in the world you have to be persistent. I am lucky to have good horses and unbelievable backers at the moment, so I have to make the most of that because I may not get that opportunity again."

Brash's backers, Lord Kirkham and Lord Harris, both soft furnishing millionaires, hold the Scot in high regard and are right behind his quest.

"Scott is very modest but knows what he wants," said Lord Harris, who runs the Carpetright empire. "He's done really well and he's hungry. The interesting thing is, and this sums him up, he still has nightmares about the fence he knocked down in the individual event at the Olympics, because he knows he got the horse slightly wrong. When he has a fence down, he says it like it is. He never blames a horse if it's not the horse's fault.

"I think we have every opportunity to make him No 1 in the world in the next three years. Before Rio. And we want to win not just one but both titles in Rio – the team and the individual. We could have won both in London. It was so bloody close. If he had just hit the fence at a slightly different angle, I think it would have stayed on."

As for the horses, Hello Sanctos, who soaked up the glory of Olympic gold, is leading the way for "team Brash". He was bought by the Lords for a reported €2 million last year in a daring raid on Germany to capture of the world's leading jumping horses. Brash's other horses include Hello Ursula and Bon Ami, who recently carried him to the top prize in Vienna.

Brash and his team are now on the lookout for one more world-class horse to add to the string, hoping it will be the final piece of the puzzle that will help him become No 1.

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