Veteran showjumper Nick Skelton became Britain’s second- oldest Olympic gold medallist when he triumphed in Rio last year at the age of 58.
Now retired, the 59-year-old has lost none of his appeal to the fillies. I hear that Skelton’s friendship with Barbara Hester, the 56-year-old former wife of City hotshot Stephen Hester, has become the talk of the horsey set.
He met glamorous Barbara after she employed his son, the top trainer Dan Skelton, to look after her racehorses at his extensive stables, Lodge Hill, in Warwickshire.
However, Nick’s blossoming friendship with Barbara is said to have gone down badly with his long-term girlfriend, the American showjumping Olympian Laura Kraut, 52, with whom he lives on a farm next to Dan’s stables.
Veteran showjumper Nick Skelton, pictured above with his long-term girlfriend, American showjumper Laura Kraut, has sparked a friendship with the ex-wife of a City hotshot
‘The situation has all become rather messy, let’s put it like that,’ one of their friends tells me.
Dan confirms he has now stopped training Barbara’s horses, but denies this followed pressure from Nick’s partner, Laura. ‘Barbara and I came to a mutual decision that I would no longer train her horses,’ Dan insists. ‘It was all very amicable.’
Dan says Nick will not comment on his love life: ‘It’s my father’s business. He doesn’t like to talk about these things.’
Skelton, whose individual medal at Rio came at his seventh Olympics, has been courting Laura since 2006.
His nine-year marriage to Sarah Poile ended after she locked him out of their Mauritius hotel room and threw his clothes into the Indian Ocean when she discovered his affair with Bettina Melliger, the wife of a Swiss showjumper.
Sarah died in 2006.
Skelton’s friendship with Barbara Hester (pictured), the 56-year-old former wife of City hotshot Stephen Hester, has become the talk of the horsey set
Skelton’s sporting success was all the more remarkable given his string of injuries which include a broken neck, two knee operations, a broken shoulder and a hip replacement.
Canadian-born Barbara, who was Master of the Foxhounds for the Warwickshire hunt, could not be reached for comment. She separated in 2010 from former RBS boss Hester, with whom she has two children. Their divorce is said to have cost him £12 million.
Barbara moved her horses from Dan’s yard to that of rookie trainer Olly Murphy, and the first dividend came this month when her horse Sangha River romped to victory at Doncaster.
Rushdie girl’s shock as holes found in her heart
Classical singer Natalie Rushdie, 31, who is married to Sir Salman Rushdie’s son, has discovered she has two holes in her heart
Booker Prize-winning author Sir Salman Rushdie has lived under a death sentence ever since a fatwa was issued against him in 1989.
Now, his daughter-in-law is living in fear — of a cardiac arrest.
Classical singer Natalie Rushdie, 31, who is married to Sir Salman’s son, Zafar, went for tests after suffering a dizzy spell and discovered she has two holes in her heart. ‘It was a big shock,’ she tells me.
The soprano even published a photo of herself online wearing a monitor, with hearts placed on top of her head.
‘I have done a lot of work for the British Heart Foundation — I didn’t expect I’d need their help, too.’