John Whitaker has revealed he will not be making his top ride Argento available for selection for this year’s European Showjumping Championships at Aachen (11-23 August).

The news is a second blow for the British showjumping team, who will be facing their last chance to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio at the Europeans.

FEI world rankings leader Scott Brash announced at the beginning of this month that he would not be jumping his top ride Hello Sanctos in the team. He said the horse would not be able to contest both the European Championships and the final leg of the Rolex Grand Slam in Calgary — where the pair stand to win a €1million bonus.

John’s form this year had suggested him as a strong contender for the Europeans. He commenced the season with two high-profile wins in Hong King in February, where Argento secured both the $700,000 Longines Grand Prix and the Gucci Gold Cup.

John Whitaker and Argento Rome Nations Cup 2015

John Whitaker and Argento help the British team to win the Nations Cup in Rome

John and his wife Clare’s 13-year-old stallion has continued a consistent record at CSI 5* level, finishing second in the Global Champions Tour grands prix at Monaco and London in recent weeks. He has also demonstrated team form, jumping a double clear in the nations cup squad in Rome.

I won’t be doing the Europeans,” said John. “Argento is a fantastic horse, but he loves smaller arenas and isn’t quite as competent in a big grass arena. Aachen is a unique place.

“He always tries his best and I don’t want to break his heart in something he’s not comfortable in.”

The British team for the Europeans is expected to be announced after Dublin Horse Show.