Equestrianism: Nations Cup win vital for Britain

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The Independent Online

Nick Skelton and Robert Smith will be back on their Olympic mounts, Arko III and Mr Springfield, at the Royal International Horse Show which begins today at Hickstead.

Britain's team leader, Derek Ricketts, will be hoping for a repeat of last year's victory in tomorrow's Sumsung Super League Nations Cup. That would lift Britain up from a lowly sixth in the league, which is uncomfortably close to the bottom eighth place that carries relegation to the second division.

Today Ricketts will name his four Nations Cup riders from the five chosen for the squad: Skelton, Smith, Mark Armstrong, Richard Davenport and Robert Whitaker. All five are expected to contest the two major individual classes, the Longines British Grand Prix on Saturday and the King George V Gold Cup, confined to men, on Sunday.

Robert Whitaker will deputise for his uncle, Michael, who is competing in Spain this weekend, when he rides Sir Dino in today's Ford Ranger Eventing Grand Prix. Event rider Pippa Funnell, who has won three times on The Tourmaline Rose, will be competing again - this time with the stallion Viceroy.