It was a somewhat disappointing day for Great Britain’s showjumping team as they were unsuccessful in qualifying for tomorrow’s team final after finishing in twelfth place in the team standings at the Olympic Equestrian Centre in Deodoro. Two of the quartet (Nick Skelton and Ben Maher) do however progress to the third individual qualifying round after finishing in the top forty-five in the individual standings.
Heading into the arena first for Team GB this morning was seven-time Olympian Nick Skelton with Beverley Widdowson’s Big Star. Producing a lovely round with the talented thirteen year old stallion, Nick was unlucky to incur four penalties at the water fence. Commenting afterwards Nick said; “That horse has never been in a water jump in his life and I don’t think he was in that one. The horse jumped amazing. He jumps those things easily and couldn’t have jumped it any better.”
Next up for Great Britain was Ben Maher and Tic Tac, owned by Jane Forbes Clark, who produced another good jumping round but were unfortunate to see a pole fall to also see them finish their round on four penalties. “I thought he jumped better today than yesterday,” commented Ben; “It was one of those rounds where I don’t think I could have done any more.”
First of the Whitaker brothers, Michael, was next into the packed-out stadium with Beverley Widdowson’s striking grey, Cassionato. With the duo looking good round the 1.60m track, another unlucky toe in the water saw a further four faults added to the team total.
Michael commented; “He really spooked at the combination. He was over-jumping if anything, but after the combination he actually jumped much better. I think at moment we’re all slightly deflated, but these things happen.”
Last in for the British team was John Whitaker aboard Team Harmony Management Co Ltd.’s Ornellaia. Having produced a stunning round yesterday, Ornellaia spooked at the fourth fence which resulted in a refusal for the pair. After the mare’s uncharacteristic fault, the pair were unlucky to accrue further penalties out on course, finishing with a total twenty-three penalties.
John said; “She started off quite well. One, two and three (fences) were good and felt confident. I actually had a good distance coming in to the combination, but at the last minute she just pulled up. I don’t know whether it was the colours. No excuses though.”
The result today saw the British team lying in twelfth place overall in the team standings which unfortunately rules them out of tomorrow’s team final, with only the top eight teams progressing. Individually, Nick and Ben return to the arena tomorrow to seek qualification for the Individual Final which takes place on Friday.
Michael Whitaker and Cassionato had also qualified for tomorrow’s individual qualifier but unfortunately after showing colic symptoms after today’s round were withdrawn from tomorrow’s competition.
Full results can be located on the Rio 2016 website - https://www.rio2016.com/en/equestrian-jumping-individual-2nd-qualifier