The Jewish Olympic gold medal horse
Ben Maher and Triple X
For one Jewish couple, London's golden Olympics had a special lustre this week.
Emma and Michael Phillips are joint owners of Triple X, one of the horses that jumped to victory in the team showjumping event on Monday.
"It was thrilling," said Mrs Phillips, as she watched a nerve-wracking jump-off for gold against the Netherlands in the finals. "It is the culmination of aiming high, dreaming high and keeping your focus. It's incredible."
In 2004, Carmel College-educated Mr Phillips bought Quainton Stud, Buckinghamshire, which the couple have turned into a world-class centre for breeding and training horses.
A few years ago, they took a 50 per cent share in Triple X, when rider and fellow-owner Ben Maher needed investment in the horse. "We knew we had an Olympic contender," Mrs Phillips said. "Triple X's last three years have been in preparation for this. But it was only a couple of weeks ago that we knew he was going. If he had gone off form, he wouldn't have been selected. I feel very proud, and vindicated, as there have been doubters [about the team]."
Once, when one of their horses was jumping, she confessed, "I got very anxious and couldn't bear to watch."
But this week she said a little prayer and tried to keep calm. "I jumped every fence with him – and with all of them," she said. "Everyone's been talking about how the crowd gets behind you. What a difference that makes."
The Phillipses are supporting the two Israeli riders competing in the Paralympics later this month.
"When Triple X starts to do his stud duties," Mrs Phillips said, "he'll be coming to us."