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Top show jumping mare Rolette will leave Ben Maher’s yard for her new home in Wellington, Florida at the end of this week, H&H can exclusively reveal.

One of Britain’s most promising show jumpers, Rolette, has been sold to American sponsor Lisa Lourie for an “undisclosed sum”. Rolette will go to Spy Coast Farm in Florida, where she will be ridden by Ireland’s Shane Sweetnam. County Cork born Shane, 27, has been based in the USA for almost five years and has enjoyed much success while based there.

Lisa Lourie told H&H: “We’re all very excited to have secured Rolette”.

But although the horse is rumoured to have changed hands for a record £3.5million, Ms Lourie refused to comment to H&H on any figures.

The loss of the 10-year-old mare to British show jumping is a crushing blow. Rolette was a British team hopeful for next year’s European Championships, the 2010 World Equestrian Games and the 2012 Olympics.

Rolette’s former rider, Ben Maher, told H&H last week: “She was more than a potential, she was a guarantee if her health stayed good.

He said: “I’m not going to pretend it won’t affect me, because it will. But that’s life unfortunately.”