Pippa Funnell bounced back in spectacular fashion from her Badminton disappointments to maintain a lead well ahead of New Zealander Andrew Nicholson, and lift the title at the FEI World Cup Qualifier at Chatsworth this weekend.
Although several competitors accrued no jumping faults during the cross-country (sheets were blank for the top 30 riders), not a single one managed to get home within the set time, meaning that cross-country time penalties were decisive in the final placings. However, since less than 12 points separated the top six riders going into the final phase, competitors had everything to play for in the show jumping.
Pippa supported her Olympic selection with an immaculate dressage test on one of her leading rides, Primmore’s Pride, finishing this phase with a score of just 28.1 — 11.7 points clear of nearest rival at this stage, Sasha Harrison from Ireland on All Love Du Fenaud.
She went on to complete an accurate, if somewhat steady, cross-country round, to maintain pole position with a fence in-hand going into the show jumping. A precision round won her the very well deserved position at the top of the leader board.
William Fox-Pitt, who has been riding high since his Badminton success with Tamarillo, rode veteran Stunning to an astonishing fifth place. The 18-year-old won here last year and was lying in third place after the quickest cross-country round of the competition, but the misfortune of one fence down in the show jumping knocked them from third into fifth place.
Sasha Harrison suffered a similar fate, dropping from second to fourth in the show jumping, in spite of a decent cross-country round. This, however, meant that Andrew Nicholson sustained his consistently brilliant form to land as runner-up on Fenicio, pulling himself up from seventh to second place after star cross-country and show-jumping rounds.
Meanwhile, 22-year-old Georgie Davies finished with her best senior placing to date, in third on Fachoudette.
Chatsworth CIC*** World Cup Qualifier results
1. Primmore’s Pride (Pippa Funnell) 47.7;
2. Fenicio (Andrew Nicholson) NZL 56.3;
3. Fachoudette (Georgie Davies) 58.5;
4. All Love Du Fenaud (Sasha Harrison) IRL 58.6;
5. Stunning (William Fox-Pitt) 59.4;
6. Bonza Katoomba (Matt Ryan) AUS 59.6.