Hong Kong's hopes of an Olympic medal in 2008 have been significantly boosted, but the honour will belong to the owners of a horse rather than a competitor. Ben Along Time, owned by Edwin McAuley and wife Peta, finished second in the eventing competition at the recent World Equestrian Games in Aachen, Germany, and now the McAuleys have their sights set on Olympic glory. 'Our aim has always been to have an Olympic horse and now it looks as though we are in with a chance,' said Edwin McAuley, who is vice-president of the Hong Kong Equestrian Federation. Success at the 2008 Games would be especially sweet for the owners as McAuley is deeply involved with the organisation of the competition, which will be staged in Hong Kong. Ben Along Time's silver-medal performance at the World Equestrian Games has been the high point of McAuley's career as an owner. And the horse, ridden by Australian Clayton Fredericks, came agonisingly close to claiming the gold medal. 'After the dressage, I thought we would finish in the top 10 and that would have been fantastic and then when we moved from third to second in the show jumping it was unbelievable,' said McAuley, a businessman. 'Zara Phillips [daughter of Britain's Princess Anne and the eventual gold medallist] missed the starting bell and lost four seconds. If she'd had one more rail down Clayton would have done it.' McAuley is a frequent visitor to the Beas River Country Club, site of the 2008 Olympic cross-country course. 'I hope we can see Ben Along Time compete in Hong Kong. You can get as big a thrill watching your horse compete in eventing as you can watching a racehorse and it is a lot cheaper,' he said. 'Seeing Ben Along Time compete in Hong Kong would be incredible. What could sum up the international spirit of the Olympics better than this - a truly international team with a UK-based Australian rider, an Irish horse and Hong Kong owners.' Of course should Ben Along Time go on to achieve Olympic gold it would stand in the medal table as an Australian success as credit for victory in equestrian events goes to the rider. McAuley is a relative newcomer to the sport. 'Peta and I came late to both riding and owning horses,' McAuley said. 'When our daughter, Elise, started riding, Peta said to me she wasn't going to spend the next 15 years watching her from over the fence. We put our names down for lessons and that was it.' Eventing has since become a family passion and son Hamish, 21, now competes in Britain. The McAuleys were introduced to Fredericks by fellow owners Philip and Vanessa Day. Fredericks was looking for more support and the timing was perfect. 'We'd never been owners before but we met Clayton and thought, 'Yes, this'll be fun'.' The McAuleys decided to buy only young horses that could be schooled and, following this policy, Ben Along Time was acquired from an Irish horse dealer. The devotion of his breeder, Ann-Marie Jamieson, is such that she went to the World Equestrian Games to watch him compete. 'She is an incredible lady. She wasn't regretting selling him on, she was just really enjoying seeing him succeed,' McAuley said. One of the challenges of owning horses is managing the relationship with the rider. 'Our policy is not to be involved,' said McAuley. 'Clayton puts it well when he says that Peta, who is a psychologist, helps him to manage the stress of competing and I help him by paying the bills.' Fredericks manages the training and decides which competitions to enter. 'He is the one who rides the horses and chooses the regime,' McAuley said. 'He knows what he is aiming to do and if he overtrains the horse then it is his loss. The plan for Ben Along Time is still to be finalised, although Kentucky, Burleigh and Badminton are on the possible agenda. The immediate plan is to give Ben a good long rest and then we'll see for next year.' Of more immediate concern is organising the Olympic competition. McAuley said he was surprised that so few in the equestrian world were aware that the 2008 competition would be held in Hong Kong. 'Frankly, I was disappointed. Most of the people I spoke to hadn't realised the Olympic equestrian games would be held in Hong Kong, including riders,' he said. 'People were asking us if we could find accommodation and were interested in what the conditions and facilities would be like. The answers were that we couldn't help them with housing but that the facilities were going to be great, the conditions would be hot and humid.' Some teams voiced their concerns about the quarantining of horses before the games. McAuley shares these concerns but expressed confidence in Hong Kong's ability to manage large equestrian events. 'In Australia [in 2000] you could bring the horses in a month before, but here we can only bring them out once the camp opens, which will be a maximum of two weeks before the competition and that is going to need very careful management but that's the vet's job,' he said. 'There are two schools of thought: one is that you bring the horses out as late as possible and compete them before they drop down a gear; the other is that you bring them out early, let them drop down and then bring them back up again.' Eventing is not known for large cash prizes. It's a sport, McAuley says, where glory is the ultimate reward. 'If you start off looking for the money, you aren't going to make it. Just go for the ride,' he said. That ride, he hopes, will take him to the 2008 Olympics, where a Hong Kong-owned horse could well taste glory.