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Wilton sets his sights on Tokyo

The Brimpton-rider has qualified for the 2020 Olympic Games

Liam Headd

Liam Headd

liam.headd@newburynews.co.uk

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01635 886629

Wilton sets his sights on Tokyo

SPENCER Wilton described the FEI World Equestrian Games as special, as he helped Great Britain secure qualification for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

As well as securing their place at the Games, Wilton also won a bronze medal at the Championships in Tyron, North Carolina.

Wilton secured bronze medal in the dressage team championship with a score of 229.68, alongside teammates Emile Faurie, Carl Hester and Charlotte Dujardin.

He said: “As a nation, the most important thing to do was to qualify for the Olympic Games, which we did, but to come home with a team medal was really special.”

The Brimpton-based rider was delighted that his team could perform on the big stage without Dujardin’s familiar Valegro, who retired in 2016.

Valegro had won three gold Medals and one silver in the previous two Olympic Games.

And although it was a blow to lose the class of Valegro, Wilton believes it gives Team GB a chance to show their skill.

“What shot us into the scene a few years ago was Charlotte with Valegro and as a team we relied on him for a few years with both team and individual events.

“This championship was extra special because it was our first team medal without Valegro,” Wilton said.

“It shows the world that we have some great riders and horses who want to be competitive.”

The 45-year-old was part of the team dressage squad that won silver in Rio in 2016 and he said: “It will be tough to improve on a silver medal because the Germans are so strong depth-wise with horse power and riding power.

“However, we have two years and we have three young horses in the team at the beginning of their international journey.

“We’ll be looking forward to Tokyo and thinking we’ll be serious medal contenders and give everything else something to worry about.”

The only downside to the Equestrian Games in the US was that Wilton’s horse SuperNova II had to be withdrawn from the Grand Prix Special after twisting a joint in the medal ceremony.

“I think with all the excitement and jumping around, he twisted a joint, which is easy to do.”

The plan for Wilton is to ride SuperNova II in Tokyo and he said: “He is coming to the end of the competition career, if we made it to Tokyo then that would be his last year at international level.”

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