Display enhances Storr's Olympic chances

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The Independent Online

Peter Storr had the satisfaction of gaining the highest marks when he rode Gambrinus at the British Dressage "Viewing Day" yesterday.

Though the atmosphere seemed relaxed to the point of being low key, Storr was well aware that he was under serious scrutiny from the selectors, but he did not let the pressure get to him.

This was only the seventh grand prix test for Gambrinus, a nine-year-old stallion who has been brought up through the ranks by Storr. Yesterday the chestnut rose to the occasion, producing his best grand prix test so far for a score of 68.33 per cent, which must enhance Storr's cherished hopes of an Olympic place.

The 12 horses on view yesterday did not include Richard Davison's Hiscox Askari, who was resting after his World Cup efforts, Sandy Phillips's Fun, who had knocked himself, or Fiona Bigwood's Celiton and Macho, the rider having hurt herself when a horse bucked her off. Askari, who is the most experienced British horse, looks certain of Olympic selection, but the battle is already on for the other three places.

Kirsty Mepham and the consistent Dikkiloo will have strengthened their claims with an accurate test for the second best score of 66.80. The 15-year-old Dutch-bred gelding was part of Peter Munt's four-in-hand carriage driving team before Mepham acquired him nine years ago.

Close behind on the identical score of 66.20 came two of Britain's most talented dressage riders: Carl Hester on Argentile Gullit and Emile Faurie on Rascher Hopes. Gullit scored 69 on the Spanish Sunshine Tour this year, but made a couple of mistakes yesterday.

Both Hester and Faurie are still getting to know their respective mounts and they will surely improve. The same goes for Emma Hindle and her expensive acquisition Wie Weltmeyer, a chestnut who moves like a potential star. They scored 65.73 for fifth place.

Storr plans to ride Gambrinus at Windsor next month before taking the stallion to two overseas meetings, possibly Copenhagen and Hamburg, where he hopes to cement his claims for an Olympic place. The last "viewing" show will be at Hickstead at the end of July and the team will be announced shortly afterwards.

BRITISH DRESSAGE VIEWING DAY (Daylesford, Gloucs): 1 Gambrinus (P Storr) 68.33 per cent; 2 Dikkiloo (K Mepham) 66.80; 3= Argentile Gullit (C Hester) and Rascher Hopes (E Faurie) 66.20; 5 Wei Weltmeyer (E Hindle) 65.73; 6 Giorgio S (N Barrett) 64.40.