Dream rejection angers Lampard

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The Independent Online

Di Lampard greeted the news that she and Abbervail Dream are to be omitted from the British Olympic show-jumping team by saying: "You do everything you've been asked to do, then you get smacked in the face."

Di Lampard greeted the news that she and Abbervail Dream are to be omitted from the British Olympic show-jumping team by saying: "You do everything you've been asked to do, then you get smacked in the face."

Although the official announcement of the team is not due until tomorrow, Lampard was told of the decision on Sunday - on the day she had jumped two clear rounds in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup, which she believed would set the seal on her Olympic place. Abbervail Dream was the best of the British show-jumping horses at the World Equestrian Games in 1998 and second best to Virtual Village It's Otto in last year's European Championships.

"I've had it drummed into me that he is one of two genuine Olympic horses in the country," Lampard said. "Some people seem to have lost sight of what this horse has done. He's now 13 years old and in his prime. How can they not see this?"

Robert Verburgt, who owns Abbervail Dream jointly with his wife, Dina, was equally outraged. "It's a tragedy for Di," he said. "She's been completely focused and worked with the sole aim of getting to Sydney for three or four years."

The selectors have asked for Abbervail Dream to go into quarantine with the team horses next Monday. The Verburgts were reluctant to go along with this request but, after long debates with Lampard, they have now agreed.

If anything goes wrong with any of the selected horses, Abbervail Dream will be on the plane that flies from Stansted to Australia on 23 August. But Lampard is not giving that possibility much thought. "I don't wish any harm to any of the people selected," she said. "I don't want to go to Sydney by default."

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