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Yesterday’s announcement of the British eventing team for the Rio Olympics brought with it a flurry of excitement and speculation. For British breeding, the team is a triumph, featuring three British-bred horses and one stallion who, although not British-bred himself, is proving a popular and prolific sire in this country.

Team GBR newcomer Izzy Taylor will be piloting the 16.1hh mare Allercombe Ellie at the Games. ‘Ellie’ is

Izzy Taylor with Allercombe Ellie

owned by Frances Carter and breeder Susan Holroyd, and is registered with Sport Horse Breeding of GB. Ellie’s dam, the Poetic Justice mare My Last Edition, is owned by Holroyd and has a strong history of British breeding in her maternal lineage; her own dam is Grade-A showjumper Late Night Extra, and her maternal grand-dam is Little Mermaid, who was third at Badminton in 1965. Several of My Last Edition’s progeny have competed successfully in British Eventing.

Allercombe Ellie’s sire is the late, great Jumbo, himself a stand-out star of British breeding. Jumbo was graded Elite with Sport Horse Breeding of GB, and sired 43 advanced event horses in Britain before his passing in 2015 at the age of 31. He is British Eventing’s leading ‘all-time’ sire and the highest-placed British-bred stallion in the World Breeding Federation eventing rankings, coming in at sixth-place overall.

Gemma Tattersall has been named for the team on one of two horses – either Chico Bella P, owned by Chris Stone, or Quicklook V, owned by the Pebbles Syndicate, will contest the Games. Quicklook V is registered with the Anglo-European Studbook (AES) and is the result of a pairing between KWPN stallion Urkel and KWPN mare Unabresse M, both of whom reside in the United Kingdom. Vicky Gosling and Vicki Hart bred the mare and Vicky, who showjumps internationally, produced her before Gemma took over the ride. Now, Quicklook V is already continuing her legacy, and has had a foal by embryo transfer.

Travelling reserve Pippa Funnell is no stranger to the world of British breeding. The Billy Stud, a Surrey and Sussex-based collaboration between Pippa and William Funnell and Donal Barnwell, has a prolific record for breeding top-quality sports horses. Pippa’s Rio reserve mount is Billy the Biz, an eleven-year-old grey by the Stud’s Cevin Z, and out of Little Miss Prim. Cevin Z brings the best of Zangersheide bloodlines to the British market, including Cor de la Bryere and Capitol 1. The Billy Stud currently has six breeding stallions and Cevin Z, who the stud has owned since 2000, is the only horse not to bear the Billy prefix. The accumulated knowledge of the three partners has resulted in a second generation of exciting British-bred prospects.

Billy the Biz
Billy the Biz

It is worth mentioning Chris Stone’s impressive stallion Chilli Morning, who will contest the Games with William Fox-Pitt aboard. The stallion may not be British-bred himself, but the Stones have ensured that

William Fox-Pitt on Chilli Morning
William Fox-Pitt on Chilli Morning

his legacy will have an impact on the breeding of event horses in this country. Several of his offspring are coming up through the ranks with Gemma Tattersall, who is based at the Stones’ Tattleton Stud, and

Quicklook V’s embryo transfer foal is sired by the stallion.

To establish a lasting generational legacy for British breeding, it is so important that owners and breeders come together to secure quality stallions and promote their use in Britain. Team GB’s announcement will surely be heartening news for British breeders.

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