A DONCASTER billionaire certainly has the Midas touch after it has emerged he has helped Great Britain to an Olympic gold.
Following Team GB’s incredible efforts to clinch a gold medal in the showjumping event, it was later revealed that one of the winning horses is part-owned by the wife of furniture tycoon Lord Kirkham.
Winning owners Lady Pauline Kirkham and Lady Pauline Harris, the wife of carpet firm boss Lord Harris, are understood to have paid a Ukrainian billionaire around £1.6 million for Hello Sanctos, the horse that was was ridden by Scott Brash in the four-man showjumping team at London’s Greenwich Park.
The Kirkhams are also said to have funded the training of winning Peebles rider Scott, who is ranked as Scotland’s number one showjumper.
He was able to convince Edlington-born Lord Kirkham, who sold the DFS sofa and dining furniture empire to Advent for around £500 million two years ago, and Lord Harris that Hello Sanctos would be an Olympics winner.
Brash, 26, rode the horse for just 45 minutes before persuading them to invest.
He was sent to Germany last year by the entrepreneurs when they heard the horse was up for sale.
After his short ride, he was able to tell the millionaires that Hello Sanctos lived up to its reputation.
They had previously seen videos of the horse and decided to buy it straight away, without seeing it in the flesh, to beat the deadline for entry into the 2012 London Olympics.
Lord Harris said it took him 30 seconds to decide when Brash called.
“I’m like that. If I see something I like and I can afford it, I’ll buy it,” he said.
Lord and Lady Kirkham, who also own Cantley Hall, have been loyal supporters of British showjumping for many years and are also believed to have helped with travel bills for competitors at international events.
The team’s medal last Monday was Britain’s first Olympic showjumping title for 60 years, and came after a dramatic victory in the jump-off phase following their tie score with Holland.