William Fox-Pitt brought Pippa Funnell’s incredible winning streak to an end in a nail-biting finale to an action packed CIC*** at the Chatsworth International Horse Trials, sponsored by GK Ford, Eve Trakway and Oce(UK)Ltd.
Pippa and William both went into the show jumping on a score of 58.1 but it was the New Zealand-bred Stunning who pulled out all the stops to win his second FEI World Cup qualifier in eight months.
Bettina Hoy and Woodsides Ashby were the only combination to break the 40 barrier to lead after the dressage, but the extravagant moving grey was ruled out after knocking himself on the way back to the lorry.
This left Pippa Funnell and the Walkinshaws’ 2002 Bramham winner, Walk On Star in pole position with 42.1 – but less than six penalties covered the next 12 places.
As ever, time was decisive in the cross-country, as Chatsworth’s demanding terrain took its toll. Blyth Tait picked up 20 penalties with Welton Envoy, while Ruth Friend, after a flying round with Matthew that moved her into fourth place, broke her wrist in a fall at the first water with Two Thyme.
This fall saw Pippa held on course with Walk On Star, with the unenviable task of having just one fence to set the horse up before the imposing Peter Bunting Bounce – but the pair jumped it with ease.
Going into the show jumping, just one fence separated the top six and Di Boddy’s track proved influential, particularly due to the slippery going.
Matt Ryan conjured up a great round from Bonza Puzzle to move up to fourth position, as did Leslie Law with Matt Butler in fifth. Zara Phillips dropped from third to tenth with four down, while Andrew Nicholson dropped out of the reckoning with seven down on Lord Killinghurst.
Pippa picked up five penalties, giving William a fence in-hand and, although Stunning slipped going to the first and tapped his way round the course, the fences stayed up for a well deserved win.
“Today was my lucky day,” said a relieved William, “I was delighted with the horse. He can be tense in the dressage but in his old age he is learning to keep a lid on it. He was foot perfect on the cross -country and I don’t think he could have snaked his way any lower round the show jumping!”
JaneApter and Studio and TV Hire’s 17-year-old is entered for Bramham but the former racehorse’s major goal for 2003 is the World Cup Final at Pau in France at the end of October.
Read the full report in this week’s Horse & Hound (15May), or click here to subscribe and enjoy Horse & Hound delivered to your door every week.