Pippa Funnell made history today when she show jumped clear at the Masterfoods Burghley Horse Trials to clinch a unique hat-trick of four-star victories and the biggest cheque on offer in eventing: the US$250,000 Rolex Grand Slam.
Andrew Nicholson, lying third, gave Pippa some breathing space when he had the very last show jump down on Lord Killinghurst to retain third place, but Pippa’s ride, Denise Lincoln and Metier Consulting’s Primmore’s Pride, never looked like hitting a fence.
Last in the arena, Zara Phillips rode brilliantly under pressure and only had the one fence down on Toytown – a vast improvement on previous form – to leave the way clear for Pippa.
“I never want to go through a week like it again,” said a clearly emotionally drained Pippa, who says she hasn’t decided what to do with the money. “I have been under so much pressure and have felt hardly human. But what a horse – only ten – just think what he might go on to do.”
In an international line-up, America’s John Williams riding Carrick retained fourth place, also with a much improved show jumping performance, Bruce Davidson was sixth on Little Tricky, and Andrew Hoy ninth for Australia on his new ride Master Monarch.
British riders who acquitted themselves well were Sarah Cutteridge, fifth on The Wexford Lady, Caroline Pratt seventh on Primitive Control, Polly Stockton, eighth on Eye Spy ll, and Bumble Thomas, 10th on The Psephologist.
Pippa’s next move is the Blenheim Petplan International Horse Trials, which start on Wednesday, where she is number one to go on Viceroy, followed by the European championships at Punchestown, where she will be trying to win a third consecutive individual title, riding Walk On Star.
Mary King and King Solomon now replace Kristina Cook in the British squad, after the latter concussed herself on the cross-country at Burghley.
Full results on www.burghley-horse.co.uk
Results: 1, Pippa Funnell, 41.8; 2, Zara Phillips, 45.8; 3, Andrew Nicholson, 46.4; 4, John Williams, 53; 5, Sarah Cutteridge, 54; 6, Bruce Davidson, 54.4; 7, Caroline Pratt, 56.4; 8, Polly Stockton, 59.2; 9, Andrew Hoy, 59.4; 10, Marie-Louise Thomas, 59.4; 11, Leslie Law, 61.2; 12, Cindy Rawson, 63.2.ß