William Whitaker

“After this year, it may seem like we’re a million miles away but we’re actually not — I’m full of confidence,” said William. “Di is doing a great job and Great Britain has always had some of the best riders in the world, so I think it’s just a matter of time before it clicks again and we’re away.

“We do just need a bit of luck now to get everything together on the right days. We’re back in division one, which was the main aim for this year, so if you look at it like that, we’ve achieved what was asked of us.”

Team performance manager, Di Lampard

“It’s a relief to get to the end of the season heading for division one — life in the second division of the Nations Cup was harder work than we thought it would be,” said Di. “We’ve always gone well as a team at the division two shows, but this year we finished third in the first round in Linz and that was where we peaked. Right through to Barcelona, we’ve had setbacks every time — Dublin was the only show where we competed with the team we originally intended to send.

“Every nation has its ups and downs, but we were so thin on the ground this year — we had 24 combinations and we gave every single one a chance. So one big disappointment is that nobody came out and shouted, ‘Look at me’. The door was open and that’s what the division two shows should have been about — but nobody fresh came through it.

“The positive is that we’ve got some very nice young horses, we’ve given them all some experience and WEG [World Equestrian Games] is now the target. Thank goodness we’ve been able to save them this year. We also have great owners, we just need many more new ones and for young riders to attract them, too.

“Most definitely we’ve had a disappointing end in Barcelona. The riders were gutted and asked: ‘What more can we do?’

“There’s plenty of homework to do but it’s time to regroup and look forward and we can at least make a clean start next year in division one. It’s the start of the Olympic cycle so that will put more guidelines on us but the aim is just to get qualified.”

Ref: Horse & Hound; 5 October 2017