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Skelton back in the saddle

August 13, 2012 11:07 am

Olympic gold medallist Nick Skelton will make a quickfire return to international showjumping action later this week.

Skelton was part of the British quartet that won Olympic equestrian team gold at Greenwich Park seven days ago.

It was Britain's first Olympic showjumping title for 60 years, and arrived after Skelton, Ben Maher, Scott Brash and Peter Charles beat Holland in a thrilling jump-off. And Warwickshire-based Skelton will be back on FEI Nations Cup duty next Friday when this season's eight-event series concludes in Dublin.

Team manager Rob Hoekstra has selected a five-strong group of Skelton, Tina Fletcher, Will Funnell, Robert Smith and John Whitaker as Britain look to consolidate or improve on their current overall Nations Cup standing of third.

Skelton will ride Carlo, as opposed to his brilliant London 2012 horse Big Star, with Olympic reserve Fletcher on Hello Sailor, Funnell riding Billy Angelo, Smith aboard Voila and Whitaker riding Argento.

Germany, shock first-round casualties in the Olympic team competition, have already won the Nations Cup series following their success at Hickstead last month. They are an unassailable 10 points clear of France, with Britain holding third spot, just half a point ahead of Sweden and Switzerland.

The Irish team for Dublin, meanwhile, includes Olympic individual bronze medallist Cian O'Connor and his London mount Blue Loyd 12.

The latest showjumping world rankings, published on Monday, see Skelton climb three places to second behind Sweden's Rolf-Goran Bengtsson.

Swiss rider Steve Guerdat, the newly-crowned Olympic individual champion, is third, just above his countryman Pius Schwizer.

Britain's other Olympic gold medallists, Maher, Brash and Charles, are ranked 16th, 33rd and 70th, respectively.

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