William Fox-Pitt’s Chilli Morning and Seacookie, and Andrew Nicholson’s Quimbo and Calico Joe, are among seven British-based horses to make use of a new quarantine facility in Chicago, which has dramatically reduced the travel time for horses bound for the Rolex Kentucky three-day event.

The horses flew into O’Hare International Airport direct from England and travelled 20min to the newly renovated quarantine barn at Arlington Park Racetrack. From there they had a comfortable six-hour onward journey to the Kentucky Horse Park — it used to be 16hrs from New York.

Simon Glennie and Matt Haug of the international horse transport company IRT, had fought for 10 years to permit horses to fly into a location other than New York, Miami or Los Angeles, the only approved import quarantine facilities in the US until now.

Speaking to the American website Eventing Nation, Simon said: “There was a special exception made for racehorses coming in to Chicago for the Arlington Million in August, but that was the only time horses were ever allowed to fly into Chicago.

“When we first started campaigning for this, I said it would take nothing short of an act of Congress to get it approved. But we ultimately received a blessing from the US Department of Agriculture [USDA] in Chicago.”

Mary King (Fernhill Urco), Austin O’Connor (Ringwopod Mississippi) and Jonelle Richards (The Deputy) are among the other British-based riders contesting the first CCI**** of the season, which kicks off on 25 April.

Should Andrew Nicholson win on either of his two rides, he will be in a position to challenge William Fox-Pitt for the Rolex Grand Slam the following weekend at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials.