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‘The team is still strong’: minor injury forces 11th hour switch to British Olympic showjumping team

Scott Brash riding Jefferson in the Olympic showjumping individual qualifier at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
Scott Brash ( GBR) riding Jefferson during the Individual Jumping Qualifier for the Individual Final for the Olympic Jumping Competition at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games held at Equestrian Park in Setagaya-ku in Tokyo in Japan between the 23rd July and 8th August 2021

Scott Brash and Jefferson will not compete as part of the British side in the Tokyo Olympic showjumping team competition owing to a minor injury.

The 12-year-old gelding, owned by Lady Pauline Harris and Lady Pauline Kirkham, sustained a minor strain in one of his front legs while jumping the individual Olympic final. The horse is sound, but has been withdrawn “as a preventative measure to avoid a more serious injury”.

Scott and Jefferson came within a whisker of making the jump-off to contest the individual medals, stopping the clock half a second over the time allowed in the first round of yesterday’s (4 August) individual final to collect a single time fault.

Harry Charles and Romeo 88, owned by Ann Thompson, will now be swapped in to take Scott and Jefferson’s place on the British Olympic showjumping team. They will join Holly Smith and Denver, owned by Ian Dowie, who will make their Olympic debut, and individual gold medallists Ben Maher with Explosion W, owned by Charlotte Roddetter and Pamela Wright.

Scott said he is “deeply disappointed” and will be doing “everything he can to support” the British team.

“Although [Jefferson] is sound this morning, a scan shows a slight strain on one of his front legs where an abnormal swelling has appeared after yesterday’s competition,” said Scott.

“After discussing with two top class vets, competing him again this week could result in a more serious injury so their advice is he has to rest allowing him to recover as quickly as possible.

“This is very disappointing for everyone I know, especially for the rest of team GB, my entire team, owners, sponsors, family and friends who have worked so hard to get us here and I would like to thank them all for their support and dedication. We are all wishing Jefferson a speedy recovery. I will be doing everything I can to support Ben, Holly and Harry and I know they have a great chance to bring home a medal. Come on guys you can do this.”

British equestrian team leader Dickie Waygood added: “In consultation with Scott, his valued owners and our team vet, we’ve decided it’s in the horse’s best interests to withdraw from the competition as a preventative measure to avoid a more serious injury.

“While disappointing for Scott and his connections, the team is still a strong proposition ahead of Friday’s (6 August) team competition and we thank Lady Harris and Lady Kirkham for their support at these Games and to the sport. Ben and Holly were always going to be in our team line up and it’s great to bring Harry into the trio at his first Games.”

The team incur no penalties for the swap and all combinations start on a clean sheet in tomorrow’s team qualifying round.

Holly will make her first Olympic start tomorrow as part of the team. She was named on the original team announcement, but a substitution before any showjumping started at the Games meant Harry was swapped in to contest the individual competition. This was a plan all owners and riders had been aware of for some time and the decision was made to “keep Denver at his best” for the team final.

The team qualifier kicks off at 7pm (11am BST) tomorrow, with the final starting at 7pm (11am BST) on Saturday.

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