Olympic gold medal-winner withdrawn from Paris selection: ‘His welfare and happiness is most important’

  • Oliver Townend’s Tokyo team gold medal-winner Ballaghmor Class has been withdrawn from the Paris Olympics nominations as “his welfare and happiness is more important than anything else”.

    Oliver and the 17-year-old gelding, owned by Karyn Shuter, Angela Hislop and Val Ryan, had been named on the British long-list for this summer’s Olympic Games but it was announced today (11 June) that he would be withdrawn as he has not achieved his final qualification result. The decision was made “in full collaboration with” British Equestrian eventing performance manager Dickie Waygood, Oliver and the horse’s owners.

    Oliver and his team said: “We are disheartened to withdraw Ballaghmor Class from Team GB Olympic selection. As his preparation for a long-format event in the first half of the season was interrupted, we could not secure the final qualification for the Olympics without compromising his best interests.

    “This is so disappointing for the whole team, but ‘Thomas’ means the world to us and at the end of the day, his welfare and happiness is more important than everything else.

    “He is one of few special horses that has an Olympic gold to his name and while he will be aiming for an autumn five-star, we hope that stablemate Cooley Rosalent will fly the flag in our bid to be selected for the Games. Huge thanks to British Equestrian, Thomas’s owners, our sponsors and the team around us who have shown unwavering support in making this decision.”

    Oliver is still on the nominated list with Paul and Diana Ridgeon’s Cooley Rosalent. The British Eventing selectors will work with Dickie to name a replacement combination for the Olympic eventing nominated list next week.

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