Stats: age 42, Dorset, England.
Navigator: ch. g. 16.3 hands, 12 years, British-bred (Kettrice—Royal Mistress), owned by Barts Ladies.
This pair completed the 2009 Rolex Kentucky CCI****, then placed second at the 2010 Pau CCI****
Jimmy’s Prediction: Navigator is back for another crack at Rolex. He went well here two years ago and even better last fall in the four-star at Pau. The Kentucky Horse Park has certainly smiled on William Fox-Pitt over the past year. This year, he returns with two horses. Either Navigator or Neuf Des Coeurs could win here, and certainly both his horses will place in the top 10. William has spoken of retirement after the London Olympic Games. I hope this is not true, as right now he is setting the standard for excellence around the world. I have always enjoyed seeing William riding here at Rolex, because he gives me a visual role model, along with Mark Todd, that I can point out to my students and say, “There, ride like that.”
Neuf Des Coeurs: b. g., 17 hands, 10 years, French-bred Selle Français (Nidor Pla-tiere—Aratos, RB Chesne), owned by David and Margie Hall.
Last year, this pair won the Blair Castle CCI*** (England), was second in the CIC*** at Chatsworth (England) and fifth at the Bramham CCI*** (England).
Jimmy’s Prediction: Neuf Des Coeurs is William’s “less experienced” horse. This means that he has “only” won a CCI***, and this will be Neuf Des Coeurs’ first four-star. That did not seem to bother William last year when his eventual World Championships partner, Cool Mountain, won here as a rookie. I predict that William will be up to his tricks again this year, when he will win his second Rolex in a row, this time on Neuf Des Coeurs.