12 things you might not know about Pippa Funnell’s Burghley star, MGH Grafton Street

  • On Sunday (8 September), Pippa Funnell added a second Burghley title to her collection of five-star victories. She was riding MGH Grafton Street, but before he was catapulted into the spotlight, some might not have had this gelding on their radar. So here we round-up 12 facts about him to get you up-to-speed…

    1. MGH Grafton Street is affectionately known as ‘Squirrel’ at home.

    2. The 16.2hh is 11 years old.

    3. He is an Irish-bred gelding by OBOS Quality, but his damline is unrecorded.

    4. He was registered as Bannerfarm Rocket before being re-named with the MGH prefix.

    5. The MGH prefix belongs to Padraig and Lucy McCarthy (neé Wiegersma). MGH Sports Horses is based at Lucy’s Warren Farm in Devon. The prefix ‘MGH’ is an abbreviation of Mullenaglogh, the town in Ireland where Padraig grew up. MGH Bingo Boy could also be seen competing at this year’s Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials, finishing 27th with Nicky Hill.

    6. Squirrel is owned by Jonathan and Jane Clarke, who are long-term supporters of Pippa.

    7. Pippa took over the ride on Squirrel in September 2015. He was originally produced and competed by Padraig and Lucy before Helen West and Aaron Millar subsequently took over the ride, producing him from BE100 to novice level.

    8. Andrew Nicholson then campaigned Squirrel for the majority of the 2015 season. Andrew’s first event with him was an intermediate, which also marked the horse’s first attempt at the level, and they subsequently won. Out of their 10 runs as a partnership, Andrew and Squirrel were only outside the top seven twice — with one of those coming as a result of a withdrawal before the final cross-country phase while sitting second behind Harry Meade and Away Cruising in an intermediate section.

    9. Squirrel’s win at Burghley was his first ever international victory. The closest he came before that was when he finished runner-up in the CCI3*-S at Brightling Park in June this year.

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    10. Some of Pippa and Squirrel’s other notable results include sixth in the CCI4*-L at Blenheim last year and fifth in the same class at Blenheim in 2017. They were also fifth in the CCI4*-S at Barbury earlier this year.

    11. Pippa has spoken openly about Squirrel’s character saying at Burghley he is an “attention seeker”.

    12. She also said that he can be “a little monkey”, referring to sneaky run outs he has been partial to previously. “I said after he stopped with me when we were in the lead at Tattersalls in May that I wasn’t going to give up until I got there with him,” she admitted.

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