The Rolex One to Watch for June 2012 is James Paterson-Robinson (AUS). Currently based at Ger Poels Horses stables in The Netherlands, the 33-year-old has jumped from 427th to 237th – a move up the Rolex Rankings of 190 places.
James established himself as a young talent when making his international debut at the Young Rider Challenge tournament in India in 1998. Two years later, at the age of 21, James moved from his hometown of Victoria (AUS), where he was based at Barwon Heads Pony Club, to pursue his riding career in Europe. In 2001 and 2003, James won the five-year-old division of the FEI World Breeding Young Horse Jumping Championships, and many other notable wins followed.
James and the 11-year-old black stallion, Niack de l’Abbaye, had many successes in 2010, having won the CSI4* Geesteren (NED) Grand Prix; finishing in second place in the Nations Cup at the CSIO3* Linz-Ebelsberg (AUT); finishing second in the Nations Cup at the CSIO4* Lummen (BEL); and placed 13th in the Grand Prix at the CSI5* San Patrignano (ITA).
In May 2012, as the Olympic season drew closer, James produced a wonderful tied win aboard 11-year-old gelding, Um Diabo, in the CSIO4* Champion of Linz Grand Prix. Due to heavy rain throughout the first round, it wasn’t possible to stage the jump-off, so the prize money was equally distributed between the eight riders that jumped clear.
The first weekend of June 2012 was a great success for James and his 13-year-old gelding, Lanosso, who clocked the fastest time at the CSI4* Bourg-en-Bresse (FRA) Grand Prix, and was thus rewarded with automatic selection for next month’s London Olympic Games. The Australian Olympic team will comprise James Paterson-Robinson, Edwina Tops-Alexander and Olympic debutant, Julia Hargreaves, with one other rider who has yet to be selected. James expressed his nervous state prior to the event, due to the difficulty of the course, but explained that “the incentive to jump well at the Olympics was stronger than the nerves.”
The Rolex One to Watch is an initiative which identifies the rider who has made the biggest jump within or into the Top 250 of the Rolex Rankings the previous month. For details online featuring the Rolex Rankings please visit: www.fei.org/disciplines/jumping/rolex-rankings.