My two dead certs for the British team for the Longines FEI European Eventing Championships at Blair Castle (10-13 September) are William Fox-Pitt on Bay My Hero — who has a fantastically consistent four-star record, including a win at Kentucky 2014 — and Nicola Wilson riding Annie Clover, with One Two Many as a direct reserve.
The lovely Annie Clover was eighth at Kentucky this spring and won Bramham CIC3* (pictured). She impressed at the World Equestrian Games last year, and has clearly got over her one-off blip in the showjumping there, where she took fright in a huge atmosphere and refused the final water tray.
One Two Many was seventh at Badminton and has just won Hopetoun CIC3*. I’d be happy to have either of those horses on my team, frankly!
I also would expect to see Tina Cook named — De Novo News was solid if unspectacular at Bramham after their Badminton fall, but they had a great World Equestrian Games last year.
The news this week that Zara Phillips’ High Kingdom will not be available for selection after his injury at Kentucky — although he will certainly be back competing in 2016 and perhaps later this year — leaves a fourth space which is very much up for grabs.
Personally I’d fill it with Kitty King and Persimmon, who have a consistent three-star record and can break the 40-barrier in the dressage.
There are 15 or so combinations who could have a claim on the eight individual spots so it’s quite an open field, but my predicted list — in alphabetical order — is Emilie Chandler (Coopers Law), Laura Collett (Grand Manoeuvre), Dani Evans (Raphael II), Flora Harris (Bayano), Nicky Roncoroni (Stonedge), Gemma Tattersall (Arctic Soul), Izzy Taylor (KBIS Briarlands Matilda) and Oliver Townend (Fenyas Elegance).
Who’s missing? I’m sure I’ve forgotten someone, but there are six other riders I think could have a shout.
Four of them went well at Bramham bar disappointing showjumping: Francis Whittington (Fernhill Highlight), Georgie Strang (Cooley Business Time), Jodie Amos (Wise Crack) and Ros Canter (Allstar B).
Louise Harwood could have Whitson or Mr Potts on the radar, but both had 20 jumping penalties across country at their spring three-days.
Finally Pippa Funnell could get the call-up with Sandman 7 — who is inexperienced but won Chatsworth CIC3* and was sixth at Bramham CCI3* — or Second Supreme, who is great across country but not quite up to the level of some of Pippa’s other rides in the dressage.
Bay My Hero, Fenyas Elegance, Bayano, Whitson and Second Supreme are all entered in the CIC3* at Barbury this weekend, so it’ll be interesting to see if that changes anything.