Whitaker, Charles, Stockdale, Fletcher and Skelton — the next generation of famous families line up at Olympia

  • Looking at the start list for this year’s Voltaire Design Under-25 British Championship, you could be forgiven for thinking you’d been transported back in time a couple of decades.

    The names Whitaker, Fletcher, Stockdale and Charles have long been familiar on this country’s showjumping circuit but at Olympia next month it will be the new generation of these competitive dynasties who will be fighting it out for top honours.

    Among those having qualified for this prestigious final is 18-year-old Jack Whitaker, son of Olympian Michael, and his 22-year-old cousin James.

    Championship medal-winning brothers Olli (16) and Will Fletcher (20), whose parents are Graham and Tina, will also be hoping for glory in Sunday evening’s performance.

    Joe Stockdale’s meteoric rise in the sport continues as the son of the late Tim Stockdale has once again qualified for the class in which he finished eighth last year.

    The 17-year-old Sienna Charles, the youngest of Olympic gold medallist Peter Charles’s children, will be appearing at the show hoping to beat her brother Harry, who returns in 2019 with a wild card awarded on FEI ranking and for 2020 prospects. He finished runner-up in the championship last year.

    Nick Skelton’s nephew Charlie Jones has also secured his place at Olympia, having qualified at Aintree recently.

    “Riding at Olympia is something that I’ve always dreamed of and I’m so excited to have qualified,” he said. “I’ve grown up watching the world’s best riders there and that I will be among them this year is just amazing.”

    Also among the 24 qualified riders are Amy Inglis, daughter of former international rider Duncan, Nations Cup team members James Wilson, Jessica Mendoza, Georgia Tame and Emily Moffitt, junior European team riders Oliver Tuff and Lily Attwood, as well as young riders Graham Babes, Leonie Aitkenhead and Jodie Hall McAteer. Millie Allen, Chloe Reynolds, Joe Tricket, Allana Clutterbuck, Yazmin Davis and Flo Norris earned direct qualification from their results at Aintree and Addington recently.

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    Matt Tarrant from sponsor Voltaire Design added: “It’s fantastic to see so many recognisable names qualified for Olympia. The class is a stepping stone for the next generation of show jumping, taking place at one of the most prestigious shows in the world, so it seems fitting that names such as Whitaker, Charles and Stockdale are competing.”

    Contenders will jump the 1.40m first round of the Voltaire Design Under-25 British Championship at The London International Horse Show at Olympia on the morning of Friday 20 December with the top 10 riders going on to compete in Sunday’s 1.45m final where a jump-off will decide who takes the lion’s share of the £13,000 prize pot.

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