The squad of five riders has been named ahead of this year’s Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup of Great Britain at Hickstead (26 July), with two breakthrough stars lining up alongside experienced campaigners.
Both William Funnell and Ben Maher have made a number of Nations Cup appearances at Hickstead, while US-based Amanda Derbyshire returns for the second year in a row. They are joined by Amy Inglis and James Wilson, both of whom have been very impressive in their first senior Nations Cups this season.
The British showjumping team – gold medallists at London 2012 – have yet to secure qualification for the Tokyo Olympics. Their only chances to do so are at the FEI European Championships in August, or at the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup Final in Barcelona in September.
Only the top eight teams from European Division One qualify for the final, and Britain are currently sitting eighth. They still have a chance to gain points at their home leg at Hickstead and the final leg in Dublin in August, but the pressure is on with both Italy and Sweden (currently ninth and tenth) also eligible to win points at these final two competitions. The other teams competing for honours at Hickstead are Ireland, the USA, Germany, Belgium and Brazil – all of whom have been victorious in recent years.
Britain has not won their home leg of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup series since 2010, although they came very close last year when finishing runners-up to Ireland. A strong performance at Hickstead will give their chances of making the final – and picking up one of those crucial Olympic qualifying tickets – a real boost.
Commented Hickstead Director Lizzie Bunn.
This year’s team is a real mix of youth and experience, with two very talented riders in Amy Inglis and James Wilson making their Hickstead team debuts,”
After winning team gold at London 2012 and an individual gold at Rio 2016, it’s unthinkable that the British showjumpers wouldn’t be at Tokyo. Hopefully a strong performance here at Hickstead will secure a ticket to the Nations Cup Final in Barcelona, as well as boosting confidence ahead of the Europeans in Rotterdam.”
Tickets for the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup of Great Britain at the Longines Royal International Horse Show (23-28 July) are on sale now from www.hickstead.co.uk