Three of the four slots allocated to Great Britain for dressage at the Rio 2016 Olympics seem pretty clear cut. Outstanding performances from Carl Hester, Charlotte Dujardin and Fiona Bigwood mean that their selection is close to guaranteed, but the battle for the fourth space has been rumbling on for months.
The names of all riders in the shake-up for places — and their reserve horses — have now been released.
In alphabetical order, they are:
- Henriette Andersen and Flavio (11-year-old by Florencio)
- Fiona Bigwood and Orthilia (11-year-old by Gribaldi)
- Richard Davison and Bubblingh (10-year-old by Lingh)
- Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro (14-year-old by Negro) with Barolo (10-year-old by Breitling W) as reserve horse
- Michael Eilberg and Marakov (16-year-old by Rufs) with Dornroschen (14-year-old mare by Dimaggio) as reserve horse
- Lara Griffith and Rubin Al Asad (14-year-old by Rubin Royal)
- Carl Hester and Nip Tuck (12-year-old by Don Ruto) with Wanadoo (15-year-old by Wolkenstein II) as reserve horse
- Gareth Hughes and Briolinca (10-year-old mare by Trento B)
- Anna Ross and Die Callas (15-year-old mare by De Niro)
- Laura Tomlinson and Rosalie B (10-year-old mare by Rubin Royal)
- Hayley Watson-Greaves and Rubins Nite (12-year-old gelding by Rubin Royal)
- Spencer Wilton and Super Nova II (13-year-old by De Niro)
For Olympic Games, all horses are stripped of their commercial prefixes, so they will not be included in H&H’s coverage.
There are no big surprises on the list, though it’s perhaps unexpected that the 14-year-old mare Dornroschen is Michael Eilberg’s reserve horse when she had four plus-70% wins earlier this year, while Marakov only has two scores over 70% in straight grand prix or grand prix special tests this year.
Fourteen-year-old Valegro has not competed since the European Championships in Aachen in 2015, but as he is unbeaten since July 2014, the selectors are extremely unlikely to leave him on the bench.
The remaining names have all put in strong performances this year, and there is just one opportunity left — at Rotterdam this weekend — for them to prove their worth. Riders competing on the Nations Cup team team at the Dutch venue are Gareth Hughes (Briolinca), Laura Tomlinson (Rosalie B), Lara Griffith (Rubin Al Asad) and Michael Eilberg (Dornroschen).
More Olympics news:
The best-represented sires of the horses listed are Rubin Royal, who accounts for three, and De Niro, who has two representatives.
The 43 nations that have earned their Rio 2016 Olympic Games slots will now focus on making their final selection of teams and individual athletes from these nominated entries, and these will be submitted by the National Olympic Committees to the Rio 2016 Organising Committee by the deadline of 18 July.
The final lists of British athletes heading to Rio will be published on Tuesday 5 July.