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Former H&H deputy news editor

Nick Skelton on top form ahead of London 2012

Nick-Skelton1.jpg

A Mercedes-Benz, a luxury watch, £300,000 cash – no, these are not the prizes in some high-end game show, just some of Nick Skelton’s winnings this season.

Few can remember him enjoying such prolonged and high-calibre success, despite his longevity as one of our top showjumpers.

Since January, the British number one has accumulated more than £300,000 in prize-money, and at least another £35,000 in bonuses, with his Olympic contenders Carlo 273 and Big Star and exciting young horse Unique XVIII.

In Hamburg two weeks ago (17 May), he won a Mercedes-Benz 250 cabriolet- sold on by Nick in Germany as it was left-hand drive – and an engraved Jaeger-LeCoultre watch.

“I don’t think Nick has been on this sort of form since he was jumping Arko,” said Will Connell, World Class performance director for Team GBR.

“The consistent performance of Carlo and Big Star put him right up there. We are so lucky to have owners like the Widdowsons [who also own Unique], who are totally focused on getting Nick to the Olympics, although that may mean missing out on some big prizes on the way.”

Although Carlo is the more experienced horse, there is little to choose between them on current form.

Team manager Rob Hoekstra will have the difficult job of selecting which will be on the Olympic squad.

Nick told H&H: “I wouldn’t like to choose between them for the Olympics. They are both jumping really well and I’d be happy to be there on either.”

The rider – whose career spans 38 years, more than 2,000 wins and at least £5.5million in prize-money – is self-effacing about his own current form.

“It’s just a normal season for me. I’m very pleased with how the horses are going,” he said.

Nick’s next stop is St Gallen with Carlo as part of Team GBR for the Nations Cup (1-3 June) and then the Global Champions Tour in Cannes (14-16 June).

This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (31 May 2012)

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