British squad for Nations Cup final revealed

  • The British squad for the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup final in Barcelona at the end of this month (24-27 September) has been revealed.

    The squad is made up of the four combinations who competed at the FEI European Showjumping Championships last month (18-23 August).

    Joe Clee and 11-year-old stallion Utamaro D’Ecaussines, Ben Maher and 10-year-old mare Diva II, Jessica Mendoza and 14-year-old mare Spirit T and Michael Whitaker and 10-year-old stallion Cassionato all head to Spain.

    The fifth rider is Laura Renwick with nine-year-old gelding Bintang II.

    Fresh from his Rolex Grand Slam win at Spruce Meadows (Sunday, 13 September) World number one Scott Brash and his partner Hello Sanctos will not feature on the team.

    However, the horse’s owner Lord Harris was quick to dispel any rumours telling H&H that the horse had been put up for selection.

    We made Hello Sanctos available, but he was not chosen,” he said.

    Ahead of the FEI European Championships last month the rider came in for criticism from fellow showjumpers after he made Hello Sanctos unavailable for the competition, to save the horse for Spruce Meadows, which fell just a month later.

    At the time he told H&H he hoped winning the grand slam and the publicity it would generate would be of benefit for showjumping, but riders frowned upon choosing the Canadian grand prix over jumping for his country.

    However, Dan Hughes of the British Equestrian Federation told H&H that the team heading to Barcelona had been initially selected before Hello Sanctos was made available.

    “Based on the assumption that given the very long flight and demanding competition programme in Calgary, it would not be in the horse’s best interests to travel and compete again so soon,” he added.

    “Now that we have successfully qualified a showjumping team for Rio, performance manager Di Lampard also wished to use the final in Barcelona to test a range of horse and rider combinations at the highest level to ensure we have the broadest choice of horses and athletes available for selection in 2016”.

    The final of the Nations Cup series takes place at the Real Club de Polo de Barcelona.

    A total of 18 teams plus the home team if not already qualified will all be eligible to compete. Teams from within Europe, North America, South America, the Middle East, Asia/Australasia and Africa will all be competing.

    The final consists of three competitions. The top eight teams from Thursday’s opening class will go forward to the third and final competition on Saturday while the remainder will compete in the Challenge Cup which will be held on the Friday.

    Live footage will be shown on www.feitv.org

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