Cook helps GB qualify for Rio 2016 Olympic Games

Tina Cook
Tina Cook

FINDON’S Tina Cook helped the Great Britain eventing team seal their place at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the weekend.

Cook, with William Fox-Pitt, Harry Meade and Zara Phillips, took silver in the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, behind Germany, after a tense showjumping finale.

On her home-bred horse, De Novo News, Cook was unfortunate to have two rails down in an otherwise super round, for 75.6 points and 16th place.

She said: “I brought here a young horse and he has gone very well. To have just two showjumps down is unlike him but the atmosphere in that arena was unbelievable – to have 20,000 people all screaming and shouting. We were always going to struggle to catch the Germans, but we’re thrilled as a team to have achieved Olympic qualification and a silver medal. I’m really happy.”

Germany took the team gold title, with The Netherlands clinching the bronze. In the individual competition, it was a German one-two, with Sandra Auffarth securing gold, ahead of current Olympic and European champion Michael Jung. Fox-Pitt took bronze in the individual event.

Cook is in action on De Novo News at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials, which begin today. This season, Cook has recorded three top-ten finishes, including a fifth at the Barbury International and a third place at the Festival of British Eventing.

The only disappointment came at the Badminton, which alongside Burghley and Kentucky, makes up the grand slam of eventing, back in May, where an early mistake saw them finish 26th.

Cook’s best finish at Burghley remains her fourth on her debut aboard General Jock in 1999 but she insists her main aim is improving on last year’s performance with De Novo News.

Cook, who turned 44 this week, said: “De Novo is my only horse ready and he has been improving at the major eventing competitions.

“He made an early mistake at Badminton this year but other than that he has been going well.

“He did really well at Burghley last year, finishing ninth and we are hoping to improve on that again. It’s a real privilege to ride at Burghley, it’s one of my favourite events of the year.

“It’s very competitive and it’s an event you always want to try to get a horse to ride at. It’s such a challenging course but a beautiful course and it makes for a fabulous atmosphere.”

n The multi-award winning Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials has been established as a major international equestrian and social event in the autumn sporting calendar for more than 50 years. For more information visit www.burghley-horse.co.uk