Show jumper Michael Whitaker is to sign a contract giving him the ride on the Beverley Hills Equestrian Partners’ mare, Fleur Z, until after next year’s Athens Olympics.
This welcome development reverses the recent trend of good English-owned horses going to Irish riders, as Fleur was partnered until recently by Ireland’s Trevor Coyle.
Michael is well acquainted with Fleur, a 12-year-old Holsteiner by Romino, who he bought in partnership with the Gillespie brothers in July 1999. They then sold the mare, who was World Champion at the age of seven, to the California-based Beverley Hills Equestrian Partners the following December.
Fleur arrived back at Michael’s Nottinghamshire stables on Tuesday last week.
“She’s very brave, careful and has plenty of scope; everything I look for in a top-class international horse,” says Michael.
Michael has also got the ride on a nine-year-old mare called Portofino, from the same owners.
New ride for Tim Stockdale
In a further boost to British show jumping’s hopes of qualifying for the Athens Olympic games, Tim Stockdale has secured the ride on Headley Stud’s Jerome III.
The 12-year-old brown gelding by Wellington had recently been ridden by Ireland’s Cameron Hanley. The horse’s former partners include Peter Charles and Lynne Bevan, who represented Britain with Jerome III at the 2000 nations cup final in Rome.
Read the full story in this week’s Horse & Hound (24 July 2003), or click here to subscribe and enjoy Horse & Hound delivered to your door every week.