British riders line up for major pre-Rio showdown

  • Although there are no official selection trial shows for British Olympic team hopefuls, as all combinations’ schedules are individually planned and agreed, four British riders will be heading to Rotterdam CHIO in Holland (23-26 June).

    This represents the last chance to impress selectors ahead of the Rio Olympic team announcement which is expected on Tuesday, 5 July.

    Britain will send four riders, and three of those places look sure to go to Charlotte Dujardin (Valegro), Carl Hester (Nip Tuck) and Fiona Bigwood (Atterupgaards Orthilia), but the tussle for the fourth place is wide open.

    British combinations confirmed for the Nations Cup team at Rotterdam are:

    • Gareth Hughes and Classic Briolinca, a 10-year-old mare by Trento B
    • Laura Tomlinson and Rosalie B, a 10-year-old mare by Rubin Royal
    • Lara Griffith and Rubin Al Asad, a 14-year-old by Rubin Royal
    • Michael Eilberg and Woodlander Dornroschen, a 14-year-old mare by Dimaggio

    Michael will also ride Marakov as an individual. Neither Valegro nor Nip Tuck is set to compete again (apart from Nip Tuck in the invitational class at Bolesworth) until after the team announcement. Both are entered for Hartpury CDI (6-10 July).

    Rotterdam CHIO, a major date on the international dressage calendar, is a mandatory selection trial for the Dutch Olympic hopefuls as well as the US and Australia.

    Edward Gal will present Glock’s Undercover in Rotterdam. The sensitive gelding has only made one appearance since he was eliminated in the grand prix special at the European Championships in Aachen last year.

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    They scored 70.22% in the grand prix — well below their usual level — at the CDI Nieuw en Sint Joosland in April. The horse was withdrawn from the remainder of the competition.

    Rotterdam will be Edward’s chance to prove to selectors that the 15-year-old Ferro x Donnerhall gelding deserves a spot on the Dutch team.

    Aside from the British riders in Rotterdam, other names in the shake-up for the fourth place include Spencer Wilton (Supernova), Anna Ross (Die Callas) and Hayley Watson-Greaves (Rubins Nite) as well as both Richard and Gill Davison (Bubblingh and Alfranco).

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