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Britain aims high with WEG jumping team

Bronze medalist Scott Brash and Hello Sanctos.

Bronze medalist Scott Brash and Hello Sanctos. © Paul Harding/LewisHardingimages.com

British Showjumping has named a squad of five riders for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, which start in Normandy on August 23.

From the five named riders, four will be selected to contest WEG, with one reserve.

The riders named are  (in alphabetical order):

  • Scott Brash MBE (28) from Scotland with Lady Kirkham and Lord and Lady Harris’ Hello Sanctos
  • Joe Clee (36) based in Belgium with Ludwig Criel’s Utamaro d’Ecaussines
  • Ben Maher MBE (31) from Hertfordshire with Jane Forbes Clark’s Cella
  • Spencer Roe (21) from Lincolnshire with Sally Roe’s Wonder Why
  • Michael Whitaker (54) from Nottinghamshire entered on both Amai, owned by Beatrice Mertens and Viking V, owned by Whitaker

Scott Brash is also entered with Lady Kirkham and Lord & Lady Harris’ Ursula, and Ben Maher is also entered with Stoneridge Farm’s Wings Sublieme. Four horses and riders and a travelling reserve will be selected from this named squad to contest the Championships.

Four selected riders will compete as individuals, as well as representing Great Britain in the team competition, where the three best scores count towards the team result. In the individual competition, all four rounds count towards qualification for the final four (the Individual Final), which sees riders compete on their own and each other’s horses – unique to a World Equestrian Games.

Chef d’Equipe Rob Hoekstra said it was an exciting team with plenty of youth and experience. “We have guys with medal experience at the highest levels and a couple here for the first time. What they all have is lots of clear rounds in them which is what you need to win at Championship level; I think it sends out a message that for those who are jumping well there are always opportunities to make it.”

Spencer Roe and Wonder Why for the winning British Team at St Gallen.

Spencer Roe and Wonder Why. © Katja Stuppia/FEI

Hoekstra said Britain was aiming for a top five team placing to secure qualification for the Rio 2016 Olympics, “but when we get there it would be nice to add a world title to the ones we’ve already got.”

The showjumping competition at the games runs from September 1 to 7.

Chef de Mission Will Connell said Britain heads to Caen with one of the most experienced riders in the world and a long-term servant to Team GBR; the number one and three in the world (on the Longines Ranking List) and two riders who through their performances this year, especially in Dublin, deserve their selection to the squad of five.

Equestrian Team GBR is supported by the UK Sport Lottery funded World Class Programme; the British teams also have the support of official Team GBR suppliers Dodson and Horrell, Land Rover, Mears Country Jackets, NAF, NuuMed, Point Two Equine, Tagg Equestrian and Toggi.

Rider comments:

Scott Brash: “I’m delighted to be part of the championship Team again. Not just for myself but for my owners, my team and for Sanctos who has been tremendous. It’s a massive honour for us all.

Joe Clee: “It’s an amazing feeling. If you’d told me at the start of the year that my season was going to go like this, I wouldn’t have believed you.  It’s just incredible to be included and to have done so well under the pressure we were under in Dublin has been great for the both of us.”

Ben Maher: “We’ve basically planned our season backwards from WEG with the championships as our key priority so it’s great to be selected. Jane Clark is a dream owner, she always has the best programme for the horse in mind and to be told to target medals and championships, it’s what every rider wants to hear so we can produce them for the right time. It’s a huge advantage.”

Spencer Roe: “It’s still sinking in; I’m absolutely delighted. Disney is an absolute horse of a lifetime. I always knew he would be good enough but for us both to be in this position so quickly is hard to believe. I’m over the moon.”

Michael Whitaker: “I’m very happy to be selected and we’re obviously heading out there to try and win something; we’ve taken home titles from the last two championships so to make it three in a row would be fantastic. The two horses I’m entered with are in good form and are both will go to the GCT in London this week as part of our preparation.”

 

 

Horsetalk.co.nz

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