Rio Olympic medallist to miss WEG through injury: ‘He hasn’t had much luck’

  • The horse who won the individual eventing bronze medal at the Rio Olympics, Mighty Nice, will not compete at the World Equestrian Games (WEG) this September.

    US rider Phillip Dutton told H&H: “Unfortunately Mighty Nice has not had much luck since Rio. I decided to give him a good long break since the Olympics as he’d had a tough year. Then he got injured at the end of last year, then I brought him back and he’s got a different injury this year, so I’m bummed about that.”

    Phillip added that he feels the timescale is too tight now for “Happy” to obtain his qualification to compete in the World Equestrian Games eventing competition in Tryon — the horse missed a planned run at Fair Hill last autumn because the rider broke his collarbone.

    “He’s still not an old horse [at 14] and I think he’ll be back in another few months, but it’s not very good timing,” he said.

    Ard Ohio son Mighty Nice was bred in Ireland by William Kells. Originally called Over The Vee, he started his international career Joseph Murphy, competing in the six-year-old World Championship at Le Lion, before Phillip took over the ride that winter. He was initially owned by one of Phillip’s loyal owners Bruce Duchossois, who passed away in 2014, and the horse now runs in the ownership of the HND Group, a syndicate of Phillip’s supporters and friends, which is named after Bruce’s HND Stables.

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    Leading US rider Phillip — who is Australian born, but swapped nationalities in 2006 to ride for his adoptive country after living there since 1991 — still has a strong team of horses to aim for WEG and the spring four-stars.

    He plans to compete two horses at Kentucky, as well as one at Luhmühlen and one at Badminton. His planned Badminton ride is Fernhill Cubalawn.  This is Phillip’s first visit to Badminton since he finished eighth in 2003 on Hannigan.

    Don’t miss H&H’s full interview with Phillip Dutton in the magazine, issue dated 15 March.

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