The Rio Olympics almost certainly marked William Fox-Pitt’s last ride on the wonderful stallion Chilli Morning.
William said after the horse’s Badminton win last May that if the stallion made it to the Rio Olympics, he would be retired afterwards.
“If he gets to Rio, which is our next dream, that’s brilliant, but that will be his last event. He will definitely go to stud,” said William in an interview with H&H recorded at Bramham last June.
After his final round of showjumping at the Olympic equestrian venue in Deodoro on Tuesday, William said: “I think that’ll be the last time I ride him.”
William does not have any Chilli Morning progeny in his stable and is not involved in the breeding side of his life, although his Rio team-mate Gemma Tattersall is based at a yard belonging to the stallion’s owners Chris and Lisa Stone and has several of his offspring to ride.
“When Chris asked me to ride him he said I wouldn’t be involved with the breeding and I said I couldn’t care less about breeding. Of course five years later I’m a bit older and a bit more sentimental about Chilli,” said William.
The now 16-year-old Chilli is the greatest eventing stallion in the history of the sport. He is the only stallion to win a four-star, apart from Windfall II, who won the short format CCI4* at Kentucky in 2004, the year the event ran experimental long and short format competitions. Windfall was ridden by the USA’s Darren Chiacchia.
Chilli, by Phantomic, was initially produced by Nick Gauntlett, who took him up to four-star level. He then spent a brief period with Mary King, before she decided he was too strong for her and passed the ride on to William Fox-Pitt, forging one of the great partnerships of the sport. The pair have been Britain’s best performers at the annual senior championship on every occasion they have been on the team — in 2013, 2014 and 2016.
Chilli Morning’s greatest achievements:
2010 — won Houghton CIC3* (with Nick Gauntlett)
2012 — won Bramham CCI3* (with William Fox-Pitt)
2013 — won Bramham CCI3* (with William Fox-Pitt)
2013 — European individual bronze medal (with William Fox-Pitt)
2014 — won Bramham CIC3* (with William Fox-Pitt)
2014 — world individual bronze and team silver medals (with William Fox-Pitt)
2015 — won Badminton CCI4* (with William Fox-Pitt)
2016 — 12th Rio Olympics (with William Fox-Pitt)