2004 Olympic Great Britain Eventing Roster

Aug 13, 2004 - 10:00 PM

The British Will Be Bringing The Team To Beat
With Pippa Funnell and William Fox-Pitt headlining their team, the British depth is the envy of the rest of the world, writes Kate Green.

In addition to outstanding resumes full of four-star wins, Pippa Funnell and William Fox-Pitt will have the additional incentive of looking to correct the unlucky stops they had at the 2002 World Equestrian Games that kept them from earning gold there.

Funnell is the first woman to win the FEI World Rankings, which she achieved in 2003 through her record-breaking Rolex Grand Slam of four-star victories at Kentucky, Badminton (England) and Burghley (England), a feat that earned her a $250,000 bonus. Last year she won five CCIs, including Saumur (France) and Blenheim (England). She brings her 2003 Burghley and Kentucky winner, Primmore’s Pride, to the team.

Funnell, who is married to international show jumper William Funnell, was born in East Sussex, where she played lacrosse to county level. She first rode for Great Britain as a junior in 1986 and became European Young Rider Champion on Sir Barnaby in 1987, but it took her 10 years to get on a senior British team. She gained her first senior Union Jack in 1999, leading Britain to double-gold at the European Championships on Supreme Rock, the only horse to have won the title back-to-back (in 2001) and been a dual winner of Badminton (2002 and 2003).

Fox-Pitt is from an eventing family–his parents both rode around Badminton, and his mother Marietta and sisters Laurella and Alicia have represented Great Britain. He turned to competing full-time after gaining a French degree at London University in 1993. He has won medals at all levels, except for the Olympics, having ridden on the fifth-placed British team in 1996. Fox-Pitt first rode for the senior British team in 1993 and has won four European team gold medals. In 2002 he won Burghley and led the FEI World Rankings; in 2003 he won the national title, three CCI***s–Bramham (England), Luhmuhlen (Germany) and Boekelo (the Netherlands)–and was second in the World Rankings. This year he won Badminton on Tamarillo, who was not previously qualified for the Olympics, having missed 2003 through injury, and he won the Saumur CCI (France). Fox-Pitt is married to the TV racing commentator Alice Plunkett.

This will be Jeanette Brakewell’s seventh consecutive championship team on the same horse, a record. They’ve earned four Badminton placings, including third in 2003, plus six medals: three European team golds, Olympic team silver, and World Championship team bronze and individual silver.

She rode as an individual at the 1998 World Equestrian Games, where she earned the individual silver medal, before joining the team in 1999, taking the important pathfinder role. She ran second for the team at last year’s European Championships and suffered an uncharacteristic fall. But a seventh place at the Badminton CCI in May clinched her second Olympic berth. From childhood, Brakewell, daughter of a Lancashire dairy farmer, was determined to ride professionally. After leaving school, she worked breaking and schooling horses, which was when she first met Over To You, as a 4-year-old. They’ve been together ever since. She shares a yard with her partner, Australian international rider Brook Staples.

Sarah Cutteridge is the new face on the British team, the other four riders having been established as a team since 2001. She was selected after a stream of consistent four-star performances–five double-clears from six rides. A farmer’s daughter from Cambridgeshire, Cutteridge loves all sports–she ran and played hockey to county level and played women’s rugby. She left school at age 16 to ride for the Lawrence David Eventing Team, winning junior and young rider national titles and the best debut prize at Burghley in 1994.

She temporarily left the sport to re-train race horses at the Hong Kong Jockey Club and prepare pentathletes for the Chinese National Games, returning in 1999 as stable jockey to Vin Jones’s stud, where she competes his mares as part of a program to breed only from proven mares. The Wexford Lady is the first mare on a British eventing team since 1960 (Michael Bullen’s Cottage Romance). Cutteridge lives with partner Miles Cohen, an investment banker.

Leslie Law first rode for Britain at the 2000 Sydney Olympics as a member of the silver-medal team that broke Britain’s 12-year medal drought. Law was born in Hereford, where his parents had a farming and transport business. He started riding at age 10 to compete with his brother Graham, also an eventer. He had early success on horses such as Welton Apollo and New Flavour, on whom he travelled to the Atlanta Olympics, only for the horse to go lame. But it’s been the two gray brothers, Shear H20 and Shear

L’Eau, on whom he has made his name. Shear H20 has gained Olympic silver, European gold and World Championship bronze team medals, plus second, third and fifth places at Badminton. Riding the younger Shear L’Eau, Law adopted the pathfinder role at the 2003 Europeans and set the team up for gold with the only cross-country round inside the time. He has recently moved to his own yard with fianc


Social Bar

Join Mailing List

Shopping Cart

Like Box

Chronicle Headlines

Most Popular

Rider Spotlight

Charity Spotlight

Horse Spotlight

Like Box

Trainer Spotlight

Like Box