Owner tells H&H why Mary King has ride on Chilli Morning

  • Four-star event stallion Chill Morning has moved to a new rider, Mary King.

    Chris Stone’s 12-year-old by Phantomic has been produced by Nick Gauntlett throughout his eventing career, which started with a win at pre-novice in 2006.

    The horse joined the rare group of stallions who have completed a four-star when he finished 42nd at Burghley last year with a clear jumping round across country.

    Owner Chris Stone explained his decision to move the horse to Mary’s yard to H&H.

    “Nick and I set off on the dream of the London Olympics together on the day that we were awarded the games, and he did a great job in finding and producing the horses to give both them, and him, a shot at selection,” he said.

    “That dream has unfortunately come to an end, as it is clear that none of my horses are high enough in an extremely strong UK line-up to have a realistic chance of selection. This has led to my wife [Lisa] and I discussing what we would like to do next, which included possibly selling Chilli, and although we had a couple of offers, we decided that we would see what might happen with a different rider.

    “We were thrilled when Mary told us that she thought she might have room to ride him this year. Obviously, he is a long way behind Mary’s world-class horses in terms of potential team selection, so it was actually a relief to take that pressure out of the equation.”

    Chris added: “Nick has a good string of horses and a very loyal support team around him, and I am sure that he will do very well this season. On a non-horsey topic, my wife and I wish him and Amanda the very best of luck for their married life!”

    Nick proposed to girlfriend Amanda Eaton on Christmas Day.

    A statement on Nick’s website dated 12 January said: “Following Saturday night’s prestigious British Breeding awards dinner where Chilli and his son topped their respective sections, Chilli’s owners Chris and Lisa Stone telephoned to tell me they wanted Mary King to take the ride! Chilli is an amazing horse with whom I have enjoyed some great times and some notable successes.

    “After nearly six years together, our final competition was at Burghley (pictured) where we jumped clear round the biggest four-star I have seen; Chilli jumped brilliantly but due to returning from a long lay off with a tendon injury, we collected some time-faults.

    “I think Burghley has set Chilli up for a very competitive run at Badminton this spring and I wish Mary every success with him.”

    Chilli Morning’s good results with Nick include finishing second in the six-year-old section of the Pavo British Eventing Breeding Championships in 2006, winning Longleat CIC** and Weston Park CCI** in 2008 and victory at Houghton CIC*** in 2009.

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