British show jumping has been rocked to the core by the news that Michael Thompson has sold Keith Shore’s ride, It’s Magic Max, to Lord Harris of Peckham for a figure believed to be around the £1m mark. The horse will now be ridden by Ireland’s Peter Charles.

The British-bred nine-year-old by Maximillian Saluut was among the front-runners to make Derek Ricketts’ European Championship team for Donaueschingen, Germany, in August.

Peter Charles says: “I first met Lord Harris last September and bought him two young horses. Some time after that, I asked if he would buy an Olympic horse for me. He said that I should let him know if I could find him one good enough.

“I feel very lucky to have the horse after all Keith’s hard work in producing him so well. I’ve always admired Max. He’s super-careful, has lots of jump, is an old-fashioned type, which I like, and is seldom out of the frame.”

Britain and Ireland are among the nations that will be battling it out in Donaueschingen for the two remaining Olympic places for Athens.

Ironically, this sale also means that three of the Irish short-listed horses are English-owned. The others are Sue Davies’s Luidam, winner of the grand prix in Rome for Billy Twomey, and Robert Splaine’s St Gallen grand prix winner, Coolcorran Cool Diamond, who belongs to the Duchess of York.

“This is a huge loss for me, but I think it’s an even bigger loss for British show jumping,” says Keith Shore, who is renowned as one of the hardest workers in the sport.

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