British show jumping’s resurgence on the international stage continued in Rome last week, as the squad finished equal second in the latest leg of the Samsung Super League Nations’ Cup, while Nick Shelton won the grand prix ahead of Michael Whitaker.
Robert Smith got the British quartet off to a great start with a clear round in the first round on board Marius Claudius; Nick Skelton then followed suit with Arko III. A four-fault performance by Michael Whitaker with Insul Tech Portofino 63 allowed the team to drop Tim Gredley’s (Omelli) unfortunate eight faults. This meant the team carried just four faults into the second round.
All four British team members collected a single pole during the second round to finish on a score of 16 faults, level with America. No one could touch the French team though, as they produced an impressive display of jumping to collect only four faults across the two rounds.
Skelton and Arko went on to win the Rome grand prix on Sunday ahead of Whitaker, this time riding Mozart des Hayettes, against a world class field at the five-star international jumping show. The two British riders were the only ones to produce double clears around the challenging course and this win was the first for a British rider in this particular grand prix for some 30 years.
Jacky Knightly of the BSJA told HHO: “It was a super performance in Rome. The British squad took on the best and showed they were more than equal to the task. Tim Gredley has proven himself as a real asset to any Nations’ Cup squad in recent weeks and has clearly got what it takes at this level, which is very promising for the future.”
Knightly believes that the increasing strength and depth of British horsepower will improve the likelihood of success at the World Equestrian Games in August.
“Omelli is a world-class horse, while Marius Claudis has come back from his break as good as ever and is being very consistent. Plus Mozart des Hayettes showed that he is ready to compete at the next level with his outstanding performance in the grand prix,” she said.
The team for WEG is to be announced in mid July, with the squad competing together in Dublin before heading out to Aachen.