Event riders reroute with European Championships in mind

  • With only four British riders in the top 20 at this year’s Badminton, the door for this summer’s European Championships looks wide open.

    William Fox-Pitt has as strong a team of horsepower as ever, finishing second in Kentucky on Seacookie and fifth at Badminton on Parklane Hawk.

    But of the London Olympic quintet, only Mary King (Imperial Cavalier) and Tina Cook (Miners Frolic) featured anywhere near the business end of Badminton’s leader board, finishing 13th and 18th.

    Opposition Buzz had four fences down the showjumping, blotting his and Nicola Wilson’s usually solid jumping record.

    Zara Phillips retired High Kingdom across country after he ran past the first of the skinny brushes in The Lake, but the pair redeemed themselves the following weekend at Chatsworth, where they finished third, and will reroute to Luhmühlen.

    World Class performance manager Yogi Breisner told H&H that when making their team choices, the selectors will look at the overall picture, taking past form as well as recent results into account.

    “We are in the first of a four-year Olympic cycle and this is traditionally when we try out up-and-coming combinations,” he said.

    “Of course Badminton and Kentucky results will come into play, but we will also take into consideration form at Luhmühlen and at the spring three-stars such as Saumur and Bramham.”

    Of the two remaining riders on the World Class elite squad, Izzy Taylor is planning to take Briarlands Matilda, whom she retired at Badminton after a run-out at the Mirage Pond, to Aachen, while Gemma Tattersall is planning to run her trio of promising three-star horses at Bramham.

    This news story was first published in Horse & Hound magazine (23 May 2013)

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