British Rio hopefuls show disappointing form in Rotterdam

  • The British team experienced disappointment in the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup in Rotterdam on Friday (24 June), finishing in eighth place.

    The fifth leg of the series, won by the Dutch home side, was billed as an important trial ahead of the Olympic team selections for Rio.

    British team manager Di Lampard’s quartet Ben Maher (Tic Tac), Jessica Mendoza (Spirit T), Robert Whitaker (Catwalk IV) and Joe Clee (Utamaro D’Ecaussines) completed on a total of 32 faults.

    The team had arrived at Rotterdam on a high following Britain’s victory in Rome at the end of May.

    Ben Maher and his relatively new ride Tic Tac produced the best result with a clear first round followed by four faults in the second.

    Jessica completed on a total of 13 faults, while Robert and Catwalk IV (pictured) finished both rounds on 16 faults.

    Joe and Utamaro D’Ecaussines picked up an uncharacteristic 16 faults in the first round, 17 in the second.

    The 12-year-old stallion was a consistent British horse at last year’s European Championships.

    Di Lampard now has a difficult decision to make before the announcement of the final four riders and a travelling reserve on 5 July.

    A longlist of 12 riders plus three reserves was confirmed last week.

    Dutch course-designer Louis Konickx produced a clever but difficult track in Rotterdam.

    “It was more tricky than we thought when we walked it, not the biggest course we’ve ever jumped but there were some technical lines — it wasn’t that easy to go clear,” said Dutch anchorman Maikel van der Vleuten.

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    The Dutch team have two more big events before their Olympic selection is finally decided — Falsterbo in Sweden followed by Aachen.

    “The selection is difficult to keep completely out of your mind — we have a big group of riders and there is no room for mistakes, but the pressure is the same for all of us,” added Maikel.

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