Scott Brash claims third Grand Prix win of 2015 closing the gap on Luciana

13 July - World No1 Scott Brash (GBR) edged closer to the championship lead tonight winning his third Grand Prix of the 2015 season riding the phenomenal Hello Sanctos.

Scott took the extraordinary triple win of the season under floodlights in the big grass arena in Cascais, Estoril, which delivered sporting drama as many of the top 30 riders retired or were eliminated in the €300,000 Grand Prix.

Speaking after his victory Scott said: “Sanctos loves Estoril. He jumped phenomenal again today. I am delighted with him but we still have to keep going to beat Luciana.”

Scott is now only 32 points behind ranking leader Luciana Diniz (POR), who had four faults in the second round at the high Mercedes vertical to the dismay of her many fans in the Portuguese crowd. His masterful round on the Olympic gold medal winning Hello Sanctos once again left a star-studded field of the world’s best in his wake.

Only a short distance from the shores of the Atlantic, it was a truly international field starting in the Grand Prix with 16 nations represented, including competitors from Japan, Morocco, Mexico and the Ukraine. The challenging but fair course, designed by Frank Rothenberger, allowed many of the world's top combinations to showcase their talent and agility, as the packed grandstands watched in anticipation. The first round saw many top names, including Daniel Deusser (GER) and Lauren Hough (USA) fail to go through, over what was a full on international track with fences at maximum proportions, including spreads of 1,70m that would test any champion combination.

Despite the stiff test, fifteen clears went through to the second round, with three more on four faults, and the scene was set as the action moved up a gear.

During the second round the high Mercedes vertical caught out a number of riders including Luciana and Sheikh Ali Bin Khalid Al Thani (QAT). Ludger Beerbaum (GER) jumped a masterful round on the incredible Chaman but uncharacteristically miscalculated the time allowed and picked up a time penalty.

Just four went through to the jump-off, as the floodlights lit the arena. In the end Scott topped the podium with Saudi Arabia’s Abdullah Al Sharbatly in second and Ireland’s Greg Broderick in third. Christian Ahlmann (GER) was the fourth rider who qualified for the jump off however was unlucky when his grey stallion Cornado II knocked out one of the bricks in the wall.

The Championship Tour now returns to France to visit Chantilly for the tenth round of the 2015 season, from the 17-19th July.

image: by S.Grasso