Arko III, one of Britain’s top show jumping hopes for this year’s Olympic Games, has been withdrawn from selection.

The decision to withdraw Arko from Olympic selection was made following discussions with his owners, the Hales family; British team management and his rider, Nick Skelton.

British show jumping performance manager Derek Ricketts: “Taking into account both Arko’s stud duties and veterinary advice, we agreed that it wouldn’t be fair to target him for the Olympic Games.

“Obviously this was not an easy decision, but one we felt would be in Arko’s best interests”

He added that Nick and Arko will still be available for Super League Selection during 2008.

Arko and Nick Skelton finished equal 10th at the Athens Olympic Games in 2004.

But Lisa and John Hales’s stallion suffered a run of bad form during the selection process for the World Equestrian Games in 2006. He was withdrawn from selection just two weeks before the Games, and hailed as Britain’s best medal hope.

A few weeks later, it was announced that Arko’s lack of form was due to possible discomfort when jumping and was given eight months off work with problems in the coffin joint of his near fore.

He returned to competition in Mauberge, France in May 2007. At the time, Nick Skelton told H&H he was delighted to “have the horse back”.

The British Show Jumping Association (BSJA) made the announcement this afternoon.