Ellen Whitaker’s former British team horse secures Olympic qualification for Saudi Arabia

  • Former British team horse Equine America Spacecake has helped Saudi Arabia qualify for the Paris Olympics.

    The 11-year-old mare was formerly competed by Ellen Whitaker, until she was sold to the Saudi Arabian Equestrian Federation at the end of 2022. At the time Ellen said “the offers were getting bigger and bigger until it just became impossible to turn down”.

    With Ellen, Equine America Spacecake represented Great Britain at the Nations Cup final in Barcelona last year and they were fourth in the Longines Global Champions Tour grand prix of London. They were also shortlisted for the World Showjumping Championships in Herning.

    Saudi’s Khaled Almobty took over the reins in January, and the pair are already showing a promising relationship. They were part of the Saudi Arabian team at the CSIO5* Nations Cup leg in January, and last week helped the country secure Olympic qualification at the Doha Nations Cup in Qatar.

    Two Paris tickets were up for grabs in the five-way battle featuring Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Morocco, Egypt and Qatar. At the halfway stage of the competition the UAE led on eight faults, with Saudi Arabia on nine, and Qatar on 10.

    In the second round Saudi’s Abdulrahman Alrajhi and Babalou HD had nine faults, and Ramzy Al Duhami and Untouchable had six. But it was clear rounds from Khaled and Equine America Spacecake, and Abdullah Alsharbatly and Steve Guerdat’s former World Cup winner Alamo, that sealed Olympic qualification. The UAE took the other qualifying spot – the first time the country has qualified for equestrian sport at the Olympics.

    Khaled is the youngest rider on the Saudi team, aged 24.

    “Today is a day to remember for the rest of our lives,” he said.

    “To qualify for the most important show in the world, the most important Games in the world, I’m very happy and proud of my teammates for all the hard work they put in. Hopefully we can continue success in the Olympics”, he said.

    Saudi Arabia and the UAE join the list of countries qualified for the showjumping at Paris 2024. As hosts, France automatically qualified. Great Britain, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands and Sweden won their spot at last summer’s World Championships. Belgium qualified at the Nations Cup Final in October.

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