Wednesday, Jun. 12, 2024

Fox-Pitt Makes History With Sixth Burghley Win

William Fox-Pitt earned a standing ovation from the rain-soaked crowd as he clinched a record sixth title at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (England.).

Fox-Pitt, 42, showed all his famous finesse and calmness as he conjured a clear round with just 1 time fault on the sodden ground from Catherine Witt’s Parklane Hawk, an 11-year-old New Zealand Thoroughbred by Grosvenor. He has now beaten the five Burghley victories apiece for Ginny Elliot and Mark Todd, and he has equaled Lucinda Green’s Badminton record of six wins on six different horses.

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William Fox-Pitt earned a standing ovation from the rain-soaked crowd as he clinched a record sixth title at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (England.).

Fox-Pitt, 42, showed all his famous finesse and calmness as he conjured a clear round with just 1 time fault on the sodden ground from Catherine Witt’s Parklane Hawk, an 11-year-old New Zealand Thoroughbred by Grosvenor. He has now beaten the five Burghley victories apiece for Ginny Elliot and Mark Todd, and he has equaled Lucinda Green’s Badminton record of six wins on six different horses.

“This ranks as one of the best achievements of my life,” said a visibly emotional Fox-Pitt afterwards. “I pretend to look relaxed, but deep down this really matters to me. It’s such an honor to win six times and to be among such legends as Mark, Ginny and Lucinda—and Mark’s still going, so perhaps he’ll beat me next time!

“I can’t believe what’s happened today. The horse was superb because the conditions were against us. I’m so lucky to have him to ride,” he continued.

Listen to an interview with Fox-Pitt.

The cheers were nearly as loud for the popular runner-up, New Zealand’s Andrew Nicholson on Libby Sellar’s Spanish-bred Nereo, who rose from fifth to second with a beautifully judged clear round.

Sadly, though, Nicholson’s second ride, Avebury, hit three fences and dropped six places to eighth. “We tried our best, but William’s horse jumped immaculately,” said Nicholson.

“The wet ground just meant that the oxers in the middle of the course became big jumps, but hitting the gate (fence 4) was my fault,” he continued. “He added: “I’m pleased with both my horses. They’ve had a hard year. They’ll be taking it easy next spring, and then they’ll be my top choices for the Olympics. We’ve got a lot to look forward to in the New Zealand team.”

Listen to an interview with Nicholson.

The irrepressible Mary King finished third on Derek Baden’s Kings Temptress and has significantly extended her lead in the HSBC FEI Classics. She now leads former winner Fox-Pitt by 13 points, which means he will have to win at the Pau CCI**** (France) in October, and King would have to finish lower than eighth if he is to collect his third HSBC FEI Classics title.

“Right, I’d better set off for Pau,” was King’s immediate reaction.

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She continued: “I wanted to prove that last week [when she fell at the HSBC FEI European Championships] was in the past. I’m proud of Kings Temptress. She’s not a great stylist in the jumping phases, but she tries her heart out.”

King revealed that the mare has had a foal by embryo transfer this summer by Grafenstöltz.

Listen to an interview with King.

Boyd Martin led the charge for Team USA, finishing seventh on Neville Bardos, just three months after the Australian Thoroughbred almost died in a barn fire.

“This was a fantastic finish to a tough and grueling Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials,” Martin said. “The heavens opened, and the ground got thick and muddy. But my old mate Neville Bardos bounced out of his stall this morning and looked like a million dollars. He trooped around, jumped a good round. I had a rail in the treble, which was completely my fault. I got him there a bit long and open, but I’m really satisfied with a top 10 finish.”

Martin called it a test of horsemanship to prepare Neville Bardos “for one of the toughest four stars in only eight weeks. I’m really pleased for the Neville Bardos Syndicate, the owners that trooped over the pond. I was proud to jump their horse around after such a challenging year.”

Listen to an interview with Martin.

Sinead Halpin also did the United States proud, finishing 15th after Manoir de Carneville had two rails down in the sloppy footing.

Listen to an interview with Halpin.

There were four New Zealand combinations in the top 10, and fourth-placed Caroline Powell’s teammates are now very keen that she saves the bouncy veteran Lenamore for next year’s Olympic Games.

Jonathan Paget also showed his promise for 2012 by coming fifth, his best CCI**** result, on Clifton Lush, the only combination to finish on their dressage score.

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Fifty-four horses finished the competition, with 13 penalty-free jumping rounds, and a further five had time penalties.

There were three withdrawals before jumping, the highest-placed being Ireland’s Elizabeth Power’s Kilpatrick River, sixth after cross-country.

Torrential rain fell all morning and made conditions difficult. Kitty King of Great Britain was eliminated in the jumping for two refusals. She rode when the rain was at its heaviest, and High Havoc slid into a fence, nearly unseating King.

HSBC Training Bursary Tom McEwen of Great Britain, who wins the HSBC Training Bursary worth $1,000 for the best CCI**** debut, finished in 19th place on Dry Old Party, having collected 12 penalties in the final phase.

“It’s a pity about the jumping, but the cross-country was a great day,” said the 20-year-old, who was the youngest competitor at Burghley. “It’s been an unbelievable weekend, and I couldn’t have asked for more. It’s all really thanks to Alex Franklin, without whom I would never have got such a good dressage mark.”

McEwen, a former Pony European team gold medallist, won a team gold medal on Private Rudolf at the Young Rider European Championships at Blair Castle (England) two weeks ago. He has decided to defer a university place and continue riding from his home in Wiltshire, where his father, Bobby, is a vet. He trains with Rodney Powell and Alex Franklin and will be spending his bursary on further training.

The 12-year-old Dry Old Party, owned by Jess Meed, was bought from Pippa Funnell, from whom McEwen has also had lessons. He is a former hurdler and was bred in Ireland by John Costello, by Undesperado, the same sire as triple Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Best Mate.  

Final Results 

1. William Fox-Pitt/Parkland Hawk (GBR) 39.7 + 0 + 1 = 40.7
2. Andrew Nicholson/Nereo (NZL) 42.3 + 2.8 + 0 = 45.1
3. Mary King/Kings Temptress (GBR) 42.2 + 1.2 + 4 = 47.4
4. Caroline Powell/Lenamore (NZL) 42.8 + 0 + 8 = 50.8
5. Jonathan Paget/Clifton Lush (NZL) 52.7 + 0 + 0 = 52.7
6. Clea Phillipps/Lead The Way (GBR) 50.8 + 2.8 + 0 = 53.6
7. Boyd Martin/Neville Bardos (USA) 49.7 + 0 + 4 = 53.7
8. Andrew Nicholson/Avebury (NZL) 42.8 + 0 + 12 = 54.8
9. Lauren Shannon/Zero Flight (GBR) 52.7 + 2.8 + 0 = 55.5
10. Zara Phillips/High Kingdom (GBR) 46.5 + 5.2 + 4 =55.7

Full results on www.burghley-horse.co.uk

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