Tina Cook aims to secure Olympic qualification in Ireland this week

  • Tina Cook is in Ireland this weekend, trying to secure an Olympic qualification for her 2009 European champion Miners Frolic.

    Miners Frolic, who collected team and individual bronze medals at the last Olympics in Hong Kong in 2008, did not secure his qualification for London last year because of illness.

    The son of Miners Lamp was withdrawn from Badminton last year due to a swelling which came up on his withers on the morning he should have done his dressage test.

    In June, he then developed enterocolitis and associated endotoxaemia, a disturbance of the digestive system – possibly as a reaction to the long-term antibiotics used to treat the swelling – and ended up fighting for his life in Arundel Equine Hospital.

    To be considered for Olympic selection, Tina needs to record either a CCI*** or CCI**** qualifying result before 17 June, but she has decided to try to get this in the bag as early as possible, hence the trip to Ballindenisk.

    Four other British combinations compete in the CCI*** at this week’s Goresbridge Go For Gold International Horse Trials: Oliver Townend on Arctic Mouse, Rodney Powell on Zinzan II and Ian Stark on Looks Similar. Performance manager Yogi Breisner flew to Ireland yesterday, too.

    Unsurprisingly, most of the rest of the competitors in both the CCI*** and CIC*** are Irish – the event was put on by organisers the Fell family specifically to help Irish riders top up their points and rise up the FEI Olympic Riders Ranking before the cut-off date.

    Watch CIC*** video course walk

    On 1 March, the FEI (horsesport’s international governing body) will announce which nations have secured the final qualifying spots for the Olympics.

    Nations can secure up to five spaces for individuals by virtue of their riders being high up the rankings – riders secure a spot for their nation, not themselves – and any nation with three to five spaces can field a team at the London Olympics.

    Ireland and Australia are the leading eventing nations hoping to qualify teams by this method, but there are challenges from elsewhere too.

    For example, many Italian riders are competing in the CCI*** at Montelibretti in Italy this weekend. At present, Karin Donckers (from already-qualified Belgium) leads, with the home side’s Stefano Brecciaroli and Susanna Bordone in second and third.

    Britain has a team qualification as host nation. Apart from Miners Frolic, the other leading contestant for selection who is still unqualified is Pippa Funnell’s ride Redesigned. Pippa felt the chestnut was unlikely to give his best so early in the season at Ballindenisk, so will aim to qualify at Badminton or Saumur.

    Redesigned was withdrawn from Badminton lame last year and was found to have tweaked a small ligament in his foot. He had two to three weeks off and has been in work ever since, but Pippa decided to give him as much time as possible to recover so did not push him to compete in the autumn last year.

    Full entries for Ballindenisk

    Nations with an eventing team qualification for the 2012 Olympics and where they qualified (before announcement of composite teams on 1 March 2012):

    • Britain (host)
    • Canada (World Equestrian Games 2010)
    • New Zealand (World Equestrian Games 2010)
    • USA (World Equestrian Games 2010)
    • Germany (World Equestrian Games 2010)
    • Belgium (World Equestrian Games 2010)
    • France (European Championships 2011)
    • Sweden (European Championships 2011)
    • Brazil (Pan American Championship 2011)
    • Argentina (Pan American Championship 2011)
    • Japan (Asia Pacific Championship 2011)

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