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Sarah Cutteridge has been forced to withdraw from the Olympics due to an injury sustained by the Wexford Lady during training.

The hugely disappointing news comes just days before the eventing competition gets underway. No details have yet been given of the nature of the mare’s injury, but the combination will be expected to return to England shortly.

Sarah was the new face within the British eventing team and would have been competing at her first Olympic Games. She also would have been riding the team’s only mare, The Wexford Lady, who was eighth at Badminton this year with one of the fastest cross-country rounds of the event

They will be replaced by Mary King and King Solomon III (pictured), who travelled out to Athens earlier this week. Mary King will be able to contribute from her wealth of Olympic experience – these are her fourth Olympic Games; her best result was in Sydney, 2000, with Star Appeal.

She and King Solomon have achieved some notable results including fifth at the 2003 European Championships, fourth at Badminton in 2003, and fourth at Burghley in 2002.

Will Connell, team leader for Equestrian in Athens expressed his sympathy for Sarah Cutteridge: “The whole team are disappointed for Sarah Cutteridge and the owners of The Wexford Lady. However, we look forward to welcoming Mary King into Team GB.”