Olympic silver medallist Spencer Wilton has welcomed an exciting young horse to his Berkshire base.

The six-year-old Sandro Hit x Ehrenwort mare Santa Maria arrived last week from Hof Kasselmann in Hagen, Germany, and will be aimed at grand prix.

“I’m as sure as you can be at this stage that she is potentially a very good grand prix horse. On paper she has all the credentials,” said Spencer, who represented Britain at the 2017 European Championships in Gothenburg with Super Nova II.

“It all came about through Emile Faurie, who works for the Kasselmanns,” he explained. “When we were out at the Europeans in August I told him I had some clients keen to buy a young horse, and he mentioned that there were some lovely ones at Hof Kasselmann.

“I competed in Darmstadt in September and we went via Hagen to view horses, then returned a month later to see Santa Maria again,” added Spencer. “From the first moment I sat on her I was looking forward to riding her again. Mechanically she is brilliant — the way she moves and uses her body — and she seems to have a fantastic work ethic.”

The bright bay mare, who was bought for Spencer by Alex and Marcia Mouradain, sold at the 2016 PSI auction for €300,000 (£267,000) and went on to qualify for the 2017 Bundeschampionate under Nicole Wego and finish fifth in the five-year-old dressage horse final in Warendorf.

She is a full sister to Dorothee Schneider’s successful international grand prix horse St Emilion.

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“We wanted something with good bloodlines and breeding potential. With embryo transfer it is quite feasible for her to continue her sport career with breeding on the side,” said Spencer. “She arrived at my yard the same day I arrived home from holiday in Sri Lanka, so it softened the blow of being back when she was there the next morning.”

Spencer and his team have named the mare Darcey, after the ballerina Darcey Bussell — “I’m a big fan of hers!” said Spencer.

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