British Olympic showjumping team for Tokyo Games announced

  • The British Olympic showjumping team for the Tokyo Games has been revealed.

    The three selected riders are:

    • Scott Brash with Hello Jefferson, owned by Lady Pauline Harris and Lady Pauline Kirkham (groom: David Honnet)
    • Ben Maher with Explosion W, owned by Ben, Charlotte Rossetter and Pamela Wright (groom: Cormac Kenny)
    • Holly Smith with Denver, owned by Ian Dowie (groom: Kate Dodd)

    The alternate rider is:

    • Harry Charles with Romeo 88, owned by Harry and Ann Thompson (groom: Georgia Ellwood)

    Making a fourth Olympic appearance, Ben is heading to Tokyo following two confidence-giving wins on the Global Champions Tour this spring. Fellow London 2012 team gold medallist Scott has finished on the podium at some of Europe’s most prestigious fixtures in recent months so is also in fine form ahead of his second Games. Holly becomes the first woman on the jumping team since 1976.

    Team GB chef de mission for the Tokyo Olympic Games, Mark England, said: “We are delighted to welcome returning Olympic gold medallists Scott and Ben to Team GB for Tokyo. They add an incredible amount of experience to this exciting side. I’d also like to congratulate Holly on her selection; a pivotal moment as she becomes the first female rider named on the Olympic jumping team in 45 years and we have no doubt that this debut Games will be a very special experience for both her and her teammates.”

    Speaking about the selection, British Equestrian performance director and equestrian team leader for Tokyo, Dickie Waygood, said: “This is an exciting squad with three riders and incredibly talented horses in peak form ahead of the Games despite the challenges of competing with a COVID restricted calendar. There’s a great mix of experience and youth and will be a great sense of camaraderie in the camp as we strive to push for podium performances.”

    The Olympic showjumping competition starts on Tuesday, 3 August, with the individual jumping qualifier. The individual medals are decided the following day, Wednesday 4 August. The jumping team qualifier takes place on Friday 6 August, with the team jumping final on Saturday 7 August. The reigning Olympic showjumping champion is Great Britain’s Nick Skelton, who won the gold medal with Big Star at the 2016 Rio Games shortly before retiring from the sport in 2017. France are the reigning Olympic team champions. Great Britain’s quartet of Ben Maher, Scott Brash, Nick Skelton and Peter Charles won the team Olympic showjumping gold medal in 2012 at the London Olympics

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    Meet the British Olympic showjumping team

    Scott Brash, 34, is based in Horsham, West Sussex and he was part of the gold medal-winning team at London 2012. He rides Lady Pauline Harris and Lady Pauline Kirkham’s Hello Jefferson, a 12-year-old bay gelding by Cooper Van De Heffink, bred in Belgium by Bernard Mols. Hello Jefferson, known at home as Jezz, is a big grand prix winner on the Global Champions Tour circuit while Scott is ranked number six in the world.

    Ben Maher is the senior member of the team at 38 and was part of the gold medal-winning team at London 2012. He is based near Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire, and rides Explosion W, a 12-year-old 16.1hh chestnut gelding (Chacco Blue x Baloubet Du Rouet) owned by Charlotte Rossetter, Pamela Write and Ben. Explosion was bred in the Netherlands by Willie Wijnen and reigns as one of the most successful horses in the world right now. Ben is ranked number four in the world and is the British number one.

    Holly Smith, 30, is based in Loughborough, Leicestershire, and will be making her Olympic debut although she is a championship veteran, including being part of the bronze medal-winning team at the 2019 Europeans. She rides Ian Dowie’s 13-year-old bay gelding Denver, a 17.1hh Dutch-bred son of Albfuehren’s Memphis. 

    Harry Charles, 22, is the youngest squad member and this will be his first Olympic Games and his debut selection for a senior championship. He rides the 17hh bay gelding Romeo 88 (Contact Van De Heffinck x Orlando), who was bred in Belgium by Picobello Horses and is owned by Ann Thompson in partnership with Harry. His father Peter was part of the team that won the gold medal at the London 2012 Olympics.

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