Tuesday 05 July - 16h27 | Lulu Kyriacou
The Chosen Ones.......
The British Olympic Association today announced the riders and horses that will be representing Great Britain at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil next month. The team for the Para Games will be announced on July 14th
Probably the biggest surprise was the omission of Kristina Cook in the eventing squad who was long listed on three horses, all of which have finished well up the rankings at either Badminton or the unofficial final trial at Bramham. When asked about this World Class Performance Manager for Eventing, Yogi Breisner said that the reasons for selection or not, would not be made public. Taylor appeared to be as surprised as anyone at her inclusion, and was expecting to instead represent her country at CHIO Aachen instead. Sources close to Cook said that the 2009 European Champion was very disappointed as her three horses had all performed admirably this season and two of them had beaten Taylor's Olympic mount at Bramham. Speculation about William Fox Pitt's participation was laid to rest as the clearly delighted former winner of Badminton and Burghley was given the green light to attempt to add to the three Olympic medals he already holds.
Di Lampard, World Class Manager of the Show jumping team, pronounced herself very satisified with her squad, which were the first choice riders and she was delighted that all of them had come into form at the right time. "Obviously we are the defending champions and we want to bring that gold back home again ad I couldn't ask for a better team to do it." The team is Britain's most experienced with twenty for Olympic appearances between them. Michael Whitaker was accompanied to the press conference by son Jack, who said he was as much in the dark as anyone about his father's selection for a fifth Olympic appearance, together with Uncle John's sixth. "It is very exciting for me as well, I am really proud but I didn't know where we were going today until we got here, it was a massive secret." Beverley Widdowson has found herself in the enviable position of owning two team horses. Already owner of a gold medal winning horse in Big Star, she is also the owner of Michael Whitaker's Cassionato
Spencer Wilton has gained the fourth spot in the dressage team and so will be part of a squad headed by his former partner Carl Hester. The selection of Hester, Charlotte Dujardin and Fiona Bigwood was regarded as a foregone conclusion by most dressage experts but the last rider for the team was much less clear. Wilton has apparently been selected due to his better percentage scores recently than some of the other contenders such as Michael Eilberg.
William Fox-Pitt, age 47, based Dorset, with Christopher Stone’s Chilli Morning
Kitty King, age 33, based Wiltshire, with Diana Bown, Jacqueline Owen and Samantha Wilson’s Ceylor L A N
Gemma Tattersall, age 31, based West Sussex, with either Christopher Stone’s Chico Bella P or The Pebbles Syndicate’s Quicklook V
Isabelle (Izzy) Taylor, age 33, based Oxfordshire, with Susan Holroyd and Frances Carter’s Allercombe Ellie
Travelling Reserve: Pippa Funnell MBE, age 47, based Surrey, with the late Carol Toliver’s Billy The Biz
Fiona Bigwood, age 40, based West Sussex, with Penny Bigwood and Neils and Lis Dahl’s Atterupgaards Orthilia
Charlotte Dujardin OBE, age 30, based Gloucestershire, with Rowena Luard, Anne Barrott and Carl Hester’s Valegro
Carl Hester MBE, age 49, based Gloucestershire, with Jane De La Mare and his own Nip Tuck
Spencer Wilton, age 43, based Reading, with Jennifer Goodman and his own Super Nova II
Travelling Reserve: Lara Griffith, age 27, based Gloucestershire, with Dr Wilfried and Ursula Bechtolsheimer’s Rubin Al Asad
Ben Maher MBE, age 33, based Hertfordshire, with Jane Forbes Clark and his own Tic Tac
Nick Skelton OBE, age 58, based Warwickshire, with Beverley Widdowson’s Big Star
John Whitaker MBE, age 60, based West Yorkshire, with Team Harmony Management Co Ltd’s Ornellaia
Michael Whitaker, age 56, based Nottinghamshire, with Beverley Widdowson’s Cassionato
Travelling reserve: Jessica Mendoza, age 20, hometown Wiltshire, with Sarah Mendoza’s Spirit T