William Fox-Pitt leads Brits to Nations Cup final glory in Boekelo

  • The British team retains its unbeaten record this year at senior international level, while a rising German star shows her class to win at Boekelo CCI4*-L, the Netherlands

    BRITAIN’S international eventing teams have been nothing short of invincible this year and their victory march continued for Boekelo’s Nations Cup, the final leg of the series, which they dominated from start to finish with three riders in the top eight – all on nine-year-old horses.

    William Fox-Pitt and Amanda Gould’s super mare Grafennacht finished second, while Nicola Wilson and Coolparks Sarco bagged fourth, Izzy Taylor and Hartacker eighth, and squad newcomer James Rushbrooke rounded off the top 20 on Milchem Eclipse.

    “To have a team of nine-year-olds that can bring it home bodes very well for the future,” said technical delegate Philip Surl. “Coming here with the crowds and atmosphere was a proper growing-up experience for these young horses and they all rose to the occasion.”

    William, who won here in 2003 and 2005, admitted that he recognised very little of the venue since his last visit here eight years ago.

    “I’ve had a bang on the head and they’ve built a motorway through the middle of the site since the last time I was here, but it was a real treat to be back and competing in front of such a huge, vocal crowd,” he said, referring to the 75,000 spectators on cross-country day. “[Course-designer] Adrian Ditcham’s course was not particularly big or technical, but it was plenty educational enough and the ground was probably the best it’s ever been.”

    He added of Grafennacht, who missed Blenheim when a blood test revealed she was not 100%: “She’s a super-easy mare – anyone could ride her – and she ran really well. After she missed Blenheim I had considered taking her to Pau, but Oratorio and Little Fire are also going there and I’m far too old now to be riding three round a five-star. Grafennacht’s owner, Amanda, has American connections, so the plan is for her to head to Kentucky three-day event in the spring, which will be exciting.”

    William was beaten by Germany’s Sophie Leube and Jadore Moi, who led from pillar to post. The 34-year-old’s star has been in the ascent since she won the seven-year-old World Young Horse Championship at Le Lion d’Angers last autumn with Sweetwater Ziethen.

    “I am overwhelmed. I am still new to this level, so I didn’t really know what to expect,” she admitted after riding in her second CCI4*-L.

    France’s Sidney Dufresne and Tresor Mail finished third.

    • This report will also be available in Horse & Hound magazine, on sale Thursday 21 October

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