Michael & John Whitaker will compete for Great Britain at CSIO5* Hickstead. Ph. ©Erin Gilmore for NF
Several members of the famous Whitaker showjumping family have been named on the Team NAF-sponsored British squad for the upcoming FEI Nations Cup™ leg at Hickstead on Friday, July 28, 2017.
Brothers John and Michael have been lynchpins of the British team for years, and have been selected to represent their country once again alongside their nephew William Whitaker and their second cousin, Joe Clayton. They are joined on the five-man squad by William Funnell.
Michael Whitaker has been selected with his horse Viking, the recent winner of the Bunn Leisure Derby Trial at the Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting; while John is due to ride the nine-year-old grey stallion Cassinis Chaplin. William Whitaker rides Utamaro d’Ecaussines, an experienced championship horse on whom William has had the ride since September 2016. Joe Clayton has been selected with the 10-year old Con Man JX, while William Funnell will ride the talented Billy Buckingham, winner of the Eindhoven Derby in May and sixth in the Al Shira’aa Derby last month.
World Class Performance Manager for Showjumping Di Lampard named her final team of four on Thursday, in which Britain faces opposition from teams from The Netherlands, Brazil, Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, France and Spain.
The FEI Nations Cup™ of Great Britain, presented by Longines, gets underway at 2.15pm on the Friday of the Longines Royal International Horse Show (25-30 July). The teams will jump two rounds with the best three scores counting from each round. If two or more teams finish on the same number of faults, a jump-off will decide the final honours.
Hickstead is the penultimate leg in European Division One of the FEI Nations Cup series, with the final leg in Dublin taking place two weeks later (9-13 August) and the final being held in Barcelona (28 September – 1 October). The Brits were relegated to Division Two last season but are aiming for promotion back up to the top division for next year.
A number of showjumping’s biggest names will also take part in the competition, including France’s Kevin Staut, who is currently ranked fourth in the world; Olympic gold medallist Marcus Ehning from Germany; and top Dutch riders Jur Vrieling, Gerco Schröder and Harrie Smolders.