Britain’s show jumpers are in good, positive order, as they go into the first, individual, round of the Olympic competition in Hong Kong.
“We can’t wait to start,” said Tim Stockdale.
Team manager Derek Ricketts said: “We’re as well prepared as any other nation, thanks to the huge technical help we had as a result of the test event last year, and I think we’ve got an excellent chance of a medal. We might even do better than the eventers!”
The team has been drawn sixth out of 16 — there are 87 competitors from 29 nations in total. Nick Skelton will act as pathfinder, followed by Tim Stockdale, Ben Maher and John Whitaker as anchorman.
Ben Maher, who makes his senior team debut, said that Rolette had settled well and was feeling fresh. “She’s used to the heat because she’s competed in America. In fact, she’s never felt better; I’ve got high hopes.”
John, for whom it is a sixth Olympics, said that Peppermill was working well. “It’s not perfect conditions for him, but it’ll be the same for everyone. He’s used to jumping under floodlights and the height of the jumps certainly doesn’t worry me.”
Germany, who lost the gold in Athens after the disqualification of Ludger Beerbaum’s horse, are obvious favourites, fielding an interesting combination of experienced and young horses.
They have two European champions, Christian Ahlmann’s 2003 gold medallist Coster, and Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum’s World Cup champion Shutterfly, plus two nine-year-olds, Ludger Beerbaum’s All Inclusive and Marco Kutscher’s Cornet.
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