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Explosion W Hickstead certain, plus British Nations Cup aspect named

  • Britain is eyeing a “real chance of a home win” at Hickstead’s Nations Cup leg with an all-star line-up, while fans can also hope to see Explosion W jump at the Longines Royal International Horse Show.

    The British side selected for the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup features Ben Maher, Ben’s Tokyo Olympic team-mate Harry Charles, John and Ellen Whitaker, plus Jodie Hall McAteer.

    Ben will ride Oakingham Stud’s 12-year-old stallion Faltic HB in the Nations Cup. He is also entered with his Olympic champion Explosion W, who he co-owns with Charlotte Rossetter and Pamela Wright, for other classes, at the Royal International.

    Ben’s Hickstead record includes many of the venue’s biggest classes, including the 2005 Hickstead Derby and the 2013 King George V Gold Cup, but he is yet to be on a winning Nations Cup team at the All England Showground.

    “I’m looking forward to it – hopefully we have a good chance of winning this year as it’s been a while since we won. It’s something that’s eluded me, I haven’t been part of a winning team at Hickstead,” said Ben, who recently welcomed his first baby with wife Sophie.

    John Whitaker is selected on his own and wife Clare’s 14-year-old gelding Equine America Unick Du Francport, while Ellen will ride Tilly Shaw’s 10-year-old mare Equine America Spacecake.

    Harry Charles and Jodie Hall McAteer complete the squad, with Harry riding the 12-year-old gelding Casquo Blue, owned by Stal Zet, and Jodie aboard Mandy Hall’s Salt’n Peppa.

    The Royal International runs from 27 to 31 July. The Nations Cup takes place on Friday, 29 July, at 2.15pm, and the Longines King George V Gold Cup starts at the same time on Sunday, 31 July.

    The last time Britain scored a Nations Cup showjumping win at Hickstead was in 2010.

    “Performance manager Di Lampard has selected a strong line-up for this month’s Nations Cup leg, with youthful talents Jodie and Harry chosen alongside the hugely experienced John Whitaker,” said Hickstead director Lizzie Bunn. “It is nice to see Ellen back in the squad, and with our very own Olympic champion Ben Maher on the team, I think we have a real chance of a home win.”

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