Di Lampard is bullish about Britain's ambitions at the Nations Cup final in Barcelona, after not fielding a team at the recent European Championships
Great Britain’s performance manager Di Lampard is “aiming for the top of the podium” with five of the country’s leading riders at the Nations Cup final in Barcelona at the end of this month (28 September – 1 October).
She has chosen Scott Brash, Ben Maher, Michael Whitaker, William Whitaker and Guy Williams to represent Great Britain at the season finale, four of whom will jump as part of the team.
*Updated 28 Sept* The British team has been confirmed as:
Scott Brash with Ursula XII
Guy Williams with Rouge de Ravel
- William Whitaker with Utamaro d’Ecaussines
- Ben Maher with Quilata
The quartet just need to “complete” the two-round competition, held over three days, in order to gain promotion into division one of the 2018 series. But with huge prize-money on offer, not to mention team honour at stake, there’s plenty to play for at the four-day show.
“We send out the strongest possible team wherever we are and this is the strongest team available to us at this time,” Di Lampard told H&H. “We go to Barcelona with a mix of very experienced riders and combinations, and some new horses as we don’t want to overdo some of the younger horses we have.
“We’re going out there to give our best possible performance — the podium is certainly the aim and we’ve been second there for the past two years so to go one better would be fantastic. It’s always a very exciting competition.”
Nations Cup final: British riders
World number 5 Scott Brash looks set to make his second Team GB appearance of the season, bringing either his London GCT grand prix winner 11-year-old Hello Forever or the 16-year-old Ursula XII, both of whom are owned by Lady Harris and Lady Kirkham. The Scotsman jumped clear for Great Britain in last year’s final on Ursula.
Ben Maher, who was part of the GB team that finished runner-up in 2015, takes Poden Farms’ 13-year-old Quilata, who only came to his stable at the start of the year and is more often seen under his student Emily Moffitt.
Michael Whitaker, who missed out on the European Championships in Sweden last month after his intended ride Viking suffered a foot injury at the 11th hour, also teams up with a relatively new ride in Barcelona, the 10-year-old Calisto Blue.
Michael’s nephew William Whitaker, Great Britain’s individual representative at the European Championships with Ludwig Criel’s 13-year-old stallion Utamaro D’Ecaussines, will team up once again under the Union flag for the Nations Cup final.
And Guy Williams heads to Barcelona with the 12-year-old stallion Rouge De Ravel, another new ride with whom he has achieved some outstanding results on the international circuit since April.
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Eighteen teams from Europe, North and Central America, South America, Middle East, Asia/Australia and Africa have qualified for the Nations Cup final in Barcelona, the first round of which takes place on Thursday 28 September.
The top eight teams progress straight to Saturday night’s final decider while the bottom 10 teams compete in the consolation Challenge Cup the following day. This is the fifth year that the CSIO Barcelona will host the Nations Cup final.
You can follow all the action with horseandhound.co.uk and read the full story in the following week’s magazine, out Thursday 5 October.