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Enfield-born showjumper has sights set on Olympic medal
10:45am Monday 6th August 2012 in Enfield & Haringey News
Ben Maher is backing the experience of Great Britain's showjumping team to possibly end a 28-year wait for an Olympic medal.
The British team of Maher, Nick Skelton, Scott Brash and Peter Charles lie in equal second place alongside Holland, Switzerland and Sweden heading into today's second and final phase of the team competition.
Saudi Arabia are the surprise leaders on a collective total of one fault, three better than their pursuers.
But Britain remain in fine shape, and Hertfordshire-based Maher, who was born in Enfield, said: "There is so much experience in our team.
"We are all staying focused on our own jobs, and if we can all do what we can do on an individual basis, then we are as good as any team."
There has also been nothing to suggest so far that neither Skelton, who is riding in his sixth Olympics, nor Maher will not strongly contest individual medals as well. The final of that event is on Wednesday.
Skelton, riding the brilliant nine-year-old stallion Big Star, once again led from the front as Britain's spearhead, jumped an immaculate clear round in the team competition first round.
"He felt amazing, he looked amazing, but he is amazing," Skelton, 54, said.
"He hasn't got a negative that horse. He is the most perfect horse - he's a freak. As soon as he goes into the arena he just lights up."
The Saudi team of Prince Abdullah Al Saud, Kamal Bahamdan, Ramzy Al Duhami and Abdullah Al Sharbatly are now the quartet everyone has to catch.
London's most famous landmarks were reflected in British designer Bob Ellis' course, which featured scaled down reproductions of Tower Bridge, Big Ben, 10 Downing Street and a London double-decker bus.
And Prince Abdullah said: "What with the weather, the London bus and Tower Bridge, I felt like I was sight-seeing. I cannot describe my feelings, I am so happy."
But Ellis' course was too much for some, with the latest batch of riders knocked out of the individual competition including Ireland's Billy Twomey, French star Penelope Leprevost and American teenager Reed Kessler.
Twomey's fellow Irishman Cian O'Connor is still in the individual hunt, though, with the current field of 46 whittled down by another 11 after today's action.