Top showjumper Unique IX has been sold to Lord Philip Harris for Tina Fletcher to ride.

Unique IX, previously owned by Anna Edwards, who rode him to victory in July’s Queen Elizabeth Cup at Hickstead (pictured right), was sold earlier this week and was picked up by the Fletchers on Tuesday (7 September).

“The Edwards’ have been extremely helpful. Unique has been well ridden and looked after and the vet reports came back well,” Lord Harris told H&H.

“The most important thing is we’re keeping a top showjumper in the country and Tina’s an excellent rider, she deserves this.”

Lord Harris also owns Tina’s World Equestrian Games (WEG) ride Hello Sailor.

The Fletchers have had their eye on Unique IX for some time.

“I’ve been watching him compete this year and I’ve always liked him,” Tina told H&H.

“I’ve been badgering Lord Harris to buy him and, when I tried the horse recently, I loved him. I’m really looking forward to the opportunity. I’m delighted and very grateful to the Harrises and hopefully Unique will be a great contribution to our team.”

Tina’s husband and H&H columnist Graham added: “Anna’s done a great job of producing him and this way another top showjumper will stay in the country.”

Anna said she believes the sale is the right decision.

“It was a hard choice, but Tina’s such a brilliant rider this will give Unique every chance to reach 2012.

“I wish them both luck, they really deserve it. I hope to produce more young horses — hopefully this is the start of a great career for both myself and the horse. It’s been a fairytale year for me and this doesn’t change that,” she added.

Lord Harris added: “Hopefully he’ll be a good addition to our team, and either he or Hello Sailor will make it to London 2012.”

Hello Sailor will be rested after WEG so Unique will do winter circuit.

“All of Pauline’s [Lady Harris] horses’s are called Hello, so he will probably become Hello Unique. Now we are on the lookout for our next one,” added Lord Harris.

Although there has been some speculation, Graham declined to reveal how much was paid for the horse.