Carl Hester looks set to be Britain’s sole representative in Omaha, USA, next week (29 March – 2 April) for the dressage and jumping World Cup finals.

Showjumper Scott Brash is currently first reserve for Great Britain while Denis Lynch has qualified as Ireland’s hope in this historic annual competition.

Scott Brash told H&H he needs one person to drop out and would still jump at the chance to compete in Omaha should it arise.

“I’d need someone to drop out by Friday [24 March] though, as that’s when the horses need to fly — I’m not expecting it to happen though at this stage,” he said.

Carl, the only Brit to have qualified for the dressage World Cup, will be heading to the US with his long-time partner Nip Tuck. Carl and the giant 13-year-old gelding by Don Ruto out of an Animo mare are currently ranked fifth in the world.

There will be 18 horse and rider combinations representing 13 countries, including the less well-known dressage nations of Argentina, Belarus, Brazil, New Zealand and Russia. 

Only two combinations ranked more highly than Carl will be going to the show, which is the culmination of the winter indoor season. World number ones Isabell Werth and Weihegold OLD (our cover stars in this week’s dressage special, out Thursday) represent Germany, while world number fours Laura Graves and Verdades will compete on home soil.

Her compatriots — also part of the USA’s bronze medal-winning team at the Rio Olympics — Kasey Perry-Glass (Dublet) and Steffen Peters (Rosamunde) have also secured starting slots.

Dutch dressage power couple Edward Gal and Hans Peter Minderhoud are making the trans-Atlantic trip with Glock’s Voice and Glock’s Flirt.

A stellar line-up of 38 showjumpers head to Nebraska, including reigning champion Steve Guerdat (SUI), who bids to match Rodrigo Pessoa’s record of three successive World Cup victories with his 11-year-old mare Bianca. Leading US riders to have made the cut are Todd Minikus (Babalou 41), Laura Kraut (Zeremonie) and McLain Ward (HH Azur), who will be competing in his 17th World Cup final.

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A strong European contingent is spearheaded by Germany’s Marcus Ehning (Pret A Tout), looking for a fourth title, and Ludger Beerbaum (Chiara 222), who is heading to his 21st World Cup. France has three riders qualified including western European league winner Kevin Staut (Reveur De Hurtebise HDC).

Also in with a chance are Italy’s Lorenzo De Luca, Belgium’s Gregory Wathelet and Denis Lynch, who has been in tremendous form this winter, qualifying in third place from Europe. He takes the 14-year-old Argentinus stallion All Star 5.

See the full list of entries on the FEI website.

By Alice Collins and Jen Donald