British selectors 'should resign'

Robert Verburgt, the owner of Di Lampard's top mount Abbervail Dream, has called for the resignation of Britain's show jumping selectors following the dismal results at the Olympic Games in Sydney, where the British team finished in eighth place.

Robert Verburgt, the owner of Di Lampard's top mount Abbervail Dream, has called for the resignation of Britain's show jumping selectors following the dismal results at the Olympic Games in Sydney, where the British team finished in eighth place.

Lampard and Abbervail Dream had been surprise omissions from the team. Had they been included, Verburgt maintains that, based on Lampard's "consistent performances in international championships," the team "could have been jumping off for a bronze medal with Brazil and France".

This conjecture assumes that Abbervail Dream would have maintained the form that made Lampard the best of the British in the World Equestrian Games of 1998 and second best (behind Geoff Billington and It's Otto) in the European Championships at Hickstead last year.

Verburgt's views were expressed in a letter to the Executive and International Affairs committees of the British Show Jumping Association.

"In my opinion," he writes, "the selection committee and the national coach [also a member of the selection committee] have failed to show the necessary leadership skills...

"In view of the public money funding the team, the selectors and the team coach must be accountable for their decisions and given the poor performance of the team they selected, they should resign."

Yesterday Malcolm Pyrah, who is the unnamed selector and team trainer mentioned by Verburgt, dismissed the letter as "too silly for words".

Pyrah maintains that "there is no way anybody could say that my horse would have done this or that if he'd been there, it just doesn't work that way in the horse world."

Abbervail Dream, who has been absent since twisting a fetlock at Rotterdam in late August, is back at work. The Irish-bred 13-year-old is expected to be competing again next month.

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