William Fox-Pitt aims to break Gatcombe records

  • Can William Fox-Pitt and Moon Man (pictured) re-write the Gatcombe record books on the event’s 25th anniversary this weekend?

    If William takes the British Open Championship, he will be the only rider to have won it five times — at the moment he shares his record of four with Mark Todd. And if he does it on Moon Man, the popular 16-year-old would be the only horse to have taken the title three times.

    Those out to thwart William include Australia’s Clayton Fredericks, who defends his title on last year’s winner Nullarbor, and also rides The Frog.

    Or could there be a younger winner? This competition, with its notoriously difficult cross-country time could play into Francis Whittington’s hands.

    He and Sir Percival III are regularly the quickest combination across country — including at last year’s Blenheim when they were the only pair inside the time, and by some 30sec, and recently at the Aachen CIC***.

    If you’re heading to the Festival of British Eventing, you will also be able to see Jeanette Brakewell’s 19-year-old crowd pleaser Over To You, as well as five of the six British squad combinations.

    In the British Intermediate Championship, look out for Gary Foggon and Bonny Bank Jay Jay, twice runners-up in CIC**s this year, and Matthew Wright’s new ride Caunton Welldone. And William Fox-Pitt has last year’s Novice Champion and Houghton CCI** winner Navigator in this class.

    Nearly 100 horses line up in the British Novice Championship, including several former young horse class winners, whose riders will be aiming to prove them in this prestigious competition.

    Lucie McNichol rides the 2005 five-year-old Burghley Young Event Horse winner Zeus Of Rushall, Lucy Wiegersma is entered on last year’s PAVO six-year-old champion Granntevka Prince and Michael Jackson brings the 2004 PAVO four-year-old victor, the stallion Up With The Lark.

    Who do you think will win the British Open, Intermediate and Novice Championships? Discuss it here on the Horse & Hound forum.

    Log onto Horse & Hound Online for regular updates from Gatcombe over the weekend and read a full report in next week’s Horse & Hound (9 August).

    For full entries visit: www.bdwp.co.uk/gat/

    For information on visiting the Festival visit: www.gatcombe-horse.co.uk

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