Karen O’Connor has won the world’s richest three-day event, the $60,000 to the winner MBNA Foxhall Cup near Atlanta, Georgia, USA, on Sunday, having led fromstart to finish on the veteran Prince Panache, 17, ahead on Kim Vinoski on Winsome Adante, who also won the best conditioned horse award.
Karen jumped an immaculate clear round, with just one time penalty over a twisty course which saw fortunes rise and fall.
Clear rounds were at a premium in this sun-drenched arena and Philip Dutton had three of them, moving up to third with Hannigan.
A rail down dropped David O’Connor and Tigger Too to fourth while fifth was Christy Price on the very clever Irish horse, Grey Spirit II.
British-based Eddy Stibbe made the long trip pay, finishing in sixth on Prime Contender and taking home $11,000. He may never have known what might have been after accruing five penalties with an exasperating cat jump at a spooky two-rail rustic at six. Thereafter, the horse jumped flawlessly and was one of very few to score no time-penalties.
There seems to be no stopping the O’Connors, for only the previous week husband David claimed the Rolex title in Kentucky for the same owner, Jacqui Mars.
Karen knew there was some surprise that she had dropped “Nache”, veteran of numerous four-star championships, to three-star level, but felt it was a fitting move for the twilight of his career.
“We are just doing this for the fun of it and, boy, does this horse love this sport,” said Karen.
This new fixture, which has clashed with the Badminton weekend for the past two years, is aimed at attracting 100,000 spectators “very quickly” according to organiser Jim Richards who has spared no expense in creating a course, designed by Mark Phillips, which can be viewed almost entirely from a grandstand and contains no fewer than five main arena fences, including a $320,000 Bentley car which escaped cross-country day with only a scuff.
See full report and pictures of all the action from Foxhall in Horse & Hound magazine 17 May issue.
For full results see: www.foxhallcup.com