Stockdale shines on good day for GB
June 1, 2012 18:53 pm
Tim Stockdale continued his remarkable recovery from a broken neck as Great Britain's showjumpers delivered their best FEI Nations Cup performance of the season.
Stockdale made a stunning return to the Nations Cup arena in St Gallen by jumping two clear rounds on Fresh Direct Kalico Bay.
It underpinned Britain's joint-second finish overall with host nation Switzerland, just one point behind winners Holland, who triumphed after anchorman Gerco Schroder posted a nerveless clear.
Experienced campaigners Nick Skelton and John Whitaker also chipped in with clears, but Michael Whitaker had a disappointing 12 faults on Viking to follow his first-round four.
Northamptonshire-based Stockdale spent several weeks in a specialist spinal unit last October and November after fracturing three vertebrae when he fell from a horse he was trying out in north Wales.
Stockdale's London 2012 dream appeared over, but the 47-year-old has gradually worked his way back to fitness and began collecting good results in two- and three-star competitions.
Great Britain team boss Rob Hoekstra always wanted to give Stockdale a chance to prove his Olympic selection credentials, and he took it with both hands.
His contribution was one of only three double clears around a testing grass arena course as Stockdale emulated Swiss pair Werner Muff and Clarissa Crotta.
"It is great to be back - I am absolutely rapt," Stockdale told Press Association Sport. "I have never seen the horse go as well as he did today. He was fabulous, and it's great to be right there at the thick end of it again.
"When I walked the course I knew it was big, but the horse is jumping so carefully at the moment. I would say he is jumping better than when we won the King George V Gold Cup at Hickstead in 2010."
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