Fox-Pitt is unbeatable at Burghley

  • William Fox-Pitt went into the final show jumping phase at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials with two fences in hand over his nearest rival, Australian Phillip Dutton. But he and Ballincoola had the crowd on tenterhooks as the second rail fell, with two fences still to jump.

    Fox-Pitt explained away his dangerous living: “I was trying not to use up too much good luck before Blenheim.

    “I must admit, though, that as I approached the final planks, which had been falling all morning and afternoon, I thought ‘what on earth am I doing’. But he’s a great jumper, so there was no reason he should knock it down and I forced myself to ride him at it as I would have done under any other circumstances.”

    This is Ballincoola’s first four-star win. There had been a question mark over the horse’s future following a fibrillating heart on the steeplechase at Badminton in the spring, but victory here, which follows an impressive victory at Barbury Castle three-star in July, will have put paid to any such fears.

    “Ballincoola has had his ups and downs, so this win is particularly overwhelming for all concerned, but he is a very good horse and he deserved this win,” added Fox-Pitt.

    Phillip Dutton headed a distinctly Antipodean feel to the top ten in the runner up spot with The Foreman, the first of his two rides. The nine-year-old gelding reproduced his form at Lexington earlier this year – where he was also second – to put immense pressure on eventing’s stars on Sunday afternoon and eventually finish just behind Fox-Pitt.

    “This is my best result at Burghley, which is a thrill, of course, and further improved by my second ride, Amazing Odyssey, finishing in tenth place. It is the first time I’ve been in Britain for five days when it hasn’t rained, and the whole event was great to be involved in,” said Dutton.

    It seems the only way is up for this young gelding, which Dutton acquired as a four-year-old. By seven, The Foreman had completed his first three-star, as an eight year-old he had his first three star win under his belt, and now, as a nine-year-old, he certainly looks like a four-star winner for the future.

    Third place once again had Andrew Nicholson’s name on it. This is the third year in a row that he has finished in third place on Lord Killinghurst. The New Zealander, who usually time his rounds to perfection, indicated that he was somewhat flummoxed by the change at the end of the cross country course.

    “All of us riders have got so used to the last two minutes of the course- where the track takes you, over the past few years, and the new track, which takes you over the penultimate fence and then down to the bottom of the leaf pit and up a steep bank towards the finish really slowed the horses up.”

    Mary King made a good recovery to finish in eventual fourth place on Call Again Cavalier – a more than satisfactory result for a combination which came together at the beginning of this season, and King will have no regrets about foregoing her position as reserve for the European Championships.

    She will probably be kicking herself for some time however. An error of course during the dressage on Friday cost her two marks, while an error on her part over time on the steeplechase cost the combination a further 7.2 penalties – a total 9.2 penalties, without which she would have finished on the same score as Fox-Pitt. He would have won, just, by virtue of a quicker cross-country round.

    Youngster Harry Meade was a crowd favourite – not only was he the most successful Burghley first-timer, but he was also the best under-25 rider at Burghley this year. He enjoyed a bold ride on Midnight Dazzler across country on Saturday, and put many of his much more experienced colleagues to shame in the show jumping on Sunday afternoon, accruing just one time penalty. He will be one to watch.

    HHO competition winners at Burghley

    Horse & Hound Online competition winner Rose Valentine (pictured one from left) enjoys champagne and strawberries on the tail gate of the Land Rover Discovery 3 she won for the duration of Burghley weekend.

    Rose took her friends Nicola Norbury, Steph Lloyd, and Frankie Norbury with her to enjoy all that Burghley had to offer, courtesy of title sponsors Land Rover. Also pictured is Land Rover representative Laura Meyerding (left).

    Burghley final results
    1. Ballincoola (William Fox-Pitt) 50.4
    2. The Foreman (Phillip Dutton AUS) 53.1
    3. Lord Killinghurst (Andrew Nicholson NZL) 59.4
    4. Call Again Cavalier (Mary King) 59.6
    5. Lenamore (Caroline Powell NZL) 61.3
    6. Mr Pracatan (Andrew Hoy AUS) 64.2
    7. Limestone Rise (Polly Jackson) 67.0
    8. Duddles (Andrew Nicholson NZL) 67.6
    9. Silence (Dan Jocelyn NZL) 68.9
    10. Amazing Odyssey (Phillip Dutton AUS) 72.5

    * Images courtesy of Burghley

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