William Whitaker has withdrawn his European Championship ride Utamaro D’Ecaussines from tomorrow’s individual final despite just making the cut.

The 28-year-old rider and the horse’s owners Ludwig and Yasmine Criel decided it was in the 13-year-old’s best interests not to compete him during the final day in Gothenburg.

The pair pulled a double of clear rounds from the bag over the first two days, before picking up 10 penalties yesterday (Friday, 25 August).

Following Friday’s showjumping team final, in which the individuals also rode, William and ‘Uta’ sat in 26th in the individual standings overnight on 15.06 penalties.

It was therefore in doubt whether William would make the top 25 who go forward to the final tomorrow (Sunday, 27 August).

However, following today’s second horse inspection, at least two combinations ahead of William withdrew — France’s Roger Yves Bost and Portugal’s Luciana Diniz. Therefore leaving William just within the top 25.

“We’ve taken the decision to not start Uta tomorrow. We’ve given it a lot of thought and decided there is still a lot to play for this year,” said William.

“We carry our faults through to tomorrow, so I would have started around 25th and there are two big rounds to jump — if the slate had of been wiped clean it would have been a different situation.

“He is 13 now so we need to look after him, there are only so many of these championships so you can’t just jump for the sake of jumping.”

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William became the solo British rider during these European Championships on the opening day when his uncle, Michael, withdrew Viking, after the gelding did not feel 100% warming up ahead of Wednesday’s qualifying speed leg.

Ludwig Criel added: “We are very happy with William and Utamaro’s performance this week. We think that the horse has done enough and decided with the team to withdraw him from the competition.”

Check out all the results from the 2017 European Championships here.

Don’t miss the full report from the dressage, para dressage and showjumping action from this week’s European Championships in Horse & Hound — including analysis, expert comments, pictures and more — on sale Thursday, 31 August.

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