Tina Cook excited by Rio call-up: ‘Being reserve is awkward, but you have to be professional’

  • Tina Cook is excited by her reserve call-up to the British Rio Olympics squad, following news yesterday that Izzy Taylor has had to withdraw Allercombe Ellie from the team.

    Pippa Funnell — the original travelling reserve — will now compete on Billy The Biz, while her great friend Tina will act as reserve with Elisabeth Murdoch’s Billy The Red.

    “I’m excited for Billy The Red,” said Tina, who was going to Rio to work for Radio 5 Live. “I’ve produced him with this goal and he’s an incredibly talented young horse and definitely an Olympic prospect.

    “He has a super temperament and he’ll travel very well. Going on a plane for the first time won’t bother him. I think he’ll thrive on the whole experience.

    “The reserve position is awkward as the only reason I’ll get to run is if someone else has a problem, but you just have to be professional.”

    Billy The Red is a nine-year-old by Balou Du Rouet, out of a mare by the thoroughbred Stan The Man. Confusingly, he was not bred by Pippa and William Funnell’s Billy Stud — an easy error to make which is bound to catch out some during the Games.

    His good results include second in the CIC3* at Bramham and seventh at the same level at Chatsworth this spring. He was also third in the CCI3* at Boekelo last year.

    Tina has been competing in Aachen this week with Calvino II, claiming 12th with a jumping clear across country, the second best British result. Team GBR finished fifth in the Nations Cup.

    Tina was a double Olympic bronze medallist at Beijing 2008 and a team silver medalist at London 2012.

    The full British eventing squad for Rio now consists of:

    • William Fox-Pitt on Chilli Morning
    • Kitty King on Ceylor LAN
    • Gemma Tattersall on Quicklook V
    • Pippa Funnell on Billy The Biz
    • Travelling reserve: Tina Cook on Billy The Red

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