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British Hopes Are Rising

The British Show Jumping Team's hopes of qualifying for the 2004 Athens Olympic Games were given a welcomed boost this week with the arrival of two new international horses into the squad.

Michael Whitaker, who lost his horse Landfurst 6, in such tragic circumstances at Aachen in June, has sealed the ride on a horse he previously rode, before being sold the United States of America. Fleur, a 12 year-old bay mare by Romino was originally purchased for Michael to ride in 1999 and then laterly sold to the US in 2000 and has since competed for Switzerland with Lesley McNaught and laterly for Ireland with Trevor Coyle, gaining placings in World Cup Qualifiers at Geneva, Gothenburg and Vigo. Fleur is owned by Mr & Mrs Sepperstein from the United States and will compete under the ownership of their company Beverley Hills Equestrian Partners (BEP). Michael also has another of the Sepperstein's horses to ride, a 9-year-old bay mare called Portofino.

Tim Stockdale, who's top horse, Fresh Direct Parcival is currently sidelined with a stifle injury has taken over the ride on Headley Stud's, Jerome III. The 12 year-old brown gelding by Wellington, has recently been ridden by Ireland's Cameron Hanley and was previously partnered by fellow Irishman, Peter Charles. Jerome III represented Great Britain on Nations Cup Teams in 2000 at Lummen, Dublin and the Nations Cup Final in Rome with Lynne Bevan.

These top international horses are a welcome addition to the British squad following the recent sale, injury and loss that the team has suffered over the past few months. Hopes of qualifying for the 2004 Athens Olympic Games and the 2004 Samsung Super League are now slowly on the increase.

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