Rising Irish star Mark McAuley has missed out on a World Cup win by less than half a second.
Mark and the grey gelding Miebello were third to go in an 18 horse jump-off in the FEI World Cup in Madrid. They took the lead with a super fast time of 42.68 sec, but were then overtaken by Roger Yves Bost who shaved 0.45sec off Mark’s time.
Roger was riding the brilliant chestnut mare Sydney Une Prince, who took him to team gold at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Bosty, as the Frenchman is affectionately known, has a very unorthodox riding style – but it clearly works! However, he wasn’t convinced he was quick enough for a win.
“I thought maybe it was good enough for third or fourth place, but I tried my best and Sydney always gives me 100 percent,” he says. “I lost one stride in the middle of the course, but she is so fast over the fences and I think that’s why we won. She is so brave and so consistent.”
Belgium’s Niels Bruynseels (Cas de Liberte) was second to last in and it looked like he might beat Roger’s time, but he was a fraction behind him to take the runner-up spot. This put Mark in third place by just 0.1sec.
Britain’s Michael Whitaker produced a great double clear with Calisto Blue, but their time of 43.82sec wasn’t quite fast enough for a podim place and they finished in ninth place.
European team gold medalists, Denis Lynch and All Star also made it into the jump-off. They were last to go against the clock, but had the final fence to come 13th.
Mark’s impressive performance has rocketed him up to fourth on the league table. And with 37 points a place at the Longines Final in Paris next April is well within his grasp.
The 30-year-old, who is based in Geneva, is on flying form after winning the Lyon Grand Prix earlier this month.
The seventh leg of the World Cup Western European League takes place at La Coruna in Spain on 10 December.