Britain’s Nations Cup final hopes pinned on Dublin after mixed fortunes at Hickstead

British riders had a mix of fortunes in the home leg of the FEI Longines Nations Cup series at Hickstead (26 July).

The home side finished eighth in the team contest, which was won by Sweden.

Pathfinder Amanda Derbyshire, fresh from two victories already this week at the Longines Royal International Horse Show, was going strongly with Roulette BH before the combination took a nasty fall at the water.

Vets and medical teams were quickly on the scene and Amanda was taken to the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton with a facial injury — caused by the peak of her riding hat — while the 10-year-old gelding was assessed on site before he was transferred to nearby Sussex Equine Hospital.

Thankfully Amanda’s injuries are not believed to be serious and X-rays on Roulette BH have showed no abnormalities.

“Amanda is still in Brighton but it is just a superficial flesh wound on her face, we gather,” Hickstead director Edward Bunn told the press conference.

“The horse has been X-rayed all down that side and our great vets and the [British] team vets x-rayed him here and found no significant damage. The horse has now been transported to Sussex Veterinary Hospital, which is only 15 minutes away just for observation and they can keep an eye on him all night. Hopefully they will all be back competing again very soon.”

James Wilson and Imagine De Muze were next to go, lowering three fences in the first round before jumping a classy second round with just an unlucky four faults at the Hickstead planks to add to the team total.

Amy Inglis and the powerful chestnut Wishes clipped rails at the final part of the treble and at fence seven on their first start. The pair then gave a smart performance in the second round with a foot in the water giving them four to add.

Team anchor Ben Maher and his Rio Olympic ride Tic Tac showed their talent and experience for a stunning double clear to the delight of the home crowd.

Team manager Di Lampard told H&H Amanda’s fall was “a real shock to everybody”.

“They are both looking like they have weathered the falls, but the knock-on effect to our two young riders [Amy and James] was showing as they both improved their rounds in the second round,” said Di, adding the support Ben gave the pair was “fantastic”.

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Britain’s final chance to reach the finals in Barcelona will be at Dublin Horse Show (7 to 11 August). This is key as Britain is chasing Olympic qualification and there are two opportunities left to secure a team ticket to Tokyo — the Nations Cup final and the 2019 European Championships.

“It is uphill to get to Barcelona, there’s no two ways about it,” said Di.

“Going forward our main goal this year is to qualify to Tokyo and the aim has always been on getting partnerships prepared for [the European Championships] Rotterdam.

“So if we end up with just one go [at qualification] at Rotterdam this year, so we do. We are going to be ready at Rotterdam.”

For the full report from the Longines Royal International Horse Show, don’t miss next week’s issue of Horse & Hound — out Thursday (1 August)