Britain has an outstanding record in European Championships: in the past 25, we have won team gold 17 times and individual gold 16 times, with 67 medals in total since the competition began in 1953.

Once again, Britain is the nation to beat in Punchestown, where Britain is defending the team gold medal and Pippa Funnell is bidding for her third consecutive individual title.

Pippa is in incredible form for her title defence, having added the Blenheim Petplan International Horse Trials last weekend to her previous wins this season at Kentucky, Badminton, Saumur and Burghley.

Although she will be without her most experienced partner Supreme Rock, she will still start among the favourites with Walk On Star.

Kristina Cook, who was withdrawn from the squad following a fall at Burghley, has been recalled to replace Polly Stockton, whose mount Tangleman was unfit to travel due to a bruised foot. Tina will be riding.

The British squad now comprises Pippa Funnell, William Fox-Pitt (Moon Man), Tina Cook (Captain Christie), Mary King (King Solomon III), Jeanette Brakewell (Over to You) and Leslie Law (Shear L’Eau). The team riders are expected to be announced after the first horse inspection, which takes place today.

The home team

It is crunch time for the Irish eventers, who will be fighting for an Olympic qualifying spot. As host country, Ireland can field 12 runners — six will be picked for the team from the following squad: Patricia Donegan (Don’t Step Back), Susan Shortt (Just Beauty Queen), Sherelle Duke (LA Temple Bar), Austin O’Connor (Horseware Fabio), Trevor Smith (Dunrath Hill) and Niall Griffin (Lorgaine).

The further six individuals are Jonty Evans (Cregwarrior), Mark Kyle (Drunken Disorderly), Becky George (Wee Hot Toddy), Michael Ryan (Old Road), Frances Younghusband (Allora Coin) and Sasha Harrison (All Love Du Fenaud).

The Irish have lost the services of star performer Jane O’Flynn, who is recovering from a bad fall. Edmond Gibney has also been removed from the equation due to injury to King’s Highway, but the home side still intends to make a big impression.

Timetable

Thursday, 17 September

9.30am CCIO dressage; 1pm demonstration by Dressage Ireland; 2pm CCIO dressage

Friday, 19 September

5.30am start of Emirates Airline Open European Endurance Championships; 9.30am CCIO dressage; 1pm demonstration by Dressage Ireland; 2pm CCIO dressage

Saturday, 20 September

8.30am show jumping; 9am–11am Paddy Power International Hunt Chase; 11am endurance prize giving; 11.15am first horse on CCIO phase A; 12.30pm-5pm CCIO cross-country; 1pm show jumping Grand Prix

Sunday, 21 September

8am CCIO final horse inspection; 9am Paddy Power International Hunt Chase, final 11.30am; 9.30am CCIO show jumping; 11.50am parade of CCIO teams; 12.10pm arena attractions; 2.45pm CCIO show jumping (top 20); 3.45pm presentation of prizes

Useful information

  • Punchestown is situated 22 miles south-west of Dublin and 30 miles from Dublin Airport
  • Tickets, which can be purchased on the day, cost €10 (Thursday and Friday) and €15 (Saturday and Sunday), which includes free access to the main arena grandstand and free car parking. Dogs are allowed on leads
  • There will be TV coverage from the event on Sunday Grandstand on BBC2 on Sunday afternoon
  • For further information contact (tel: 00 353 404 44596), or visit www.sporthorseshow.com