Fox-Pitt makes his mark with a win at Hartpury International
William Fox-Pitt made his intention to lead Great Britain’s charge at the European Championships clear by winning the Superflex CIC*** at the NAF Five Star International Hartpury Horse Trials.
Now in its 12th year, the Hartpury Horse Trials featured the Optimum CCI*, Magic CCI** and Superflex CIC***
William Fox-Pitt once again demonstrated his strength in horses by taking the win, as well as two further top ten placings, in the Superflex CIC***.
His win came with Catherine Witt’s 12 year old bay gelding Bay My Hero – the horse he will ride at the FEI European Eventing Championships at Blair Castle. He was also 5th with Luxury FH and 7th with Fernhill Pimms.
Fox-Pitt told Eventing Worldwide: “I’m very happy with them – it was a good outing and good preparation for whatever they do next. They built a superb track, it rained, the going was perfect and I could let them go on a bit. Bay My Hero had a bit of a shock when I put my foot down and thought hang on you don’t usually do that – but I thought I would make the most of it and bring them home having done a little bit of work. It has done their fitness the world of good. I am quite delighted with Bay My Hero – and probably as surprised as my owner is that I took the handbrake off. He’s probably going to Blair, Pimms will go to Burghley and Luxury to Blenheim. Fingers crossed they’ll get there, they’ve come out of this well and they’ve all had a great preparation.”
Catherine Witt added: “I’m thrilled and surprised – I’m not used to him going that quick. When they said 0.8 penalties I thought they were wrong. It’s very exciting about Blair – it’s the first time I’ve had a horse on the team so I’m looking forward to it.”
The runner-up spot went to Sarah Bullimore on Reve Du Rouet. The 11 year old will now head to
Burghley. She commented: “I’m chuffed. I have always had utter belief in this horse and he’s perhaps not delivered on the promise that he’s always shown. He’s always been great on the jumping side but not in the dressage arena and finally he has. There is still so much to come from him so hopefully this is just the start. He’s a fantastic cross country horse and it was so lovely to be able to run on good ground and be able to let them go a bit and get the time. It was great preparation for Burghley.”
Ibby Macpherson completed the top three with Ballingown Diamond, who came here off the waitlist. She said; “I am chuffed to bits – he was amazing from start to finish. We came in here off the waitlist and that night he decided to go in the field and injure himself. But I am amazed with him – it is our best result to to date. He was incredible around the cross country course. We came here last year and I think that gave us a bit more confidence to attack it. I plan to take him to Blenheim and have him qualified for a four star next year. I’d love to think we could go to Badminton but Luhmuhlen is probably better, but we’ll just we’ll just take Blenheim as the next step.”
Pippa Funnell and Sandman 7 completed their preparation for the European Championships coming 16th, with a double clear only adding a handful of cross country time penalties to their dressage score of 42.2.
It was ladies day in the Optimum CCI* as mares took the top three places. Caroline Harris, ridding Billy
Bumble, led the competition from start to finish to claim victory. Caroline, who is based with Sam Griffiths, scored 37.5 in their dressage and added nothing in the jumping phases, despite a nervy moment in the show jumping, to triumph. The seven year old mare is owned by her father Dr Mark Harris. .
She said afterwards: “I can’t quite believe it – its very surreal. I want to thank everybody – I’m based with Sam Griffiths and he has done a lot for me. I knew she could come here and do well so I put a lot of pressure on myself. In the dressage she could not have done better – she couldn’t have done better all weekend. She has been fantastic. I had a slight panic in the show jumping. I went down the line and the stride was not there. But she was so clever and she sorted herself out. She cruised around the cross country. I had every faith in her that she could do it. My aim would be to take her to Le Lion but she is only seven, but she’ll go to Osberton for the seven year old championships.”
Tom Jackson pushed Caroline all the way with Dowalda, finishing on their dressage score of 38.5. He told Eventing Worldwide: “I’m really thrilled. Dowalda is just a brilliant horse and is definitely one to watch for the future after today’s result. It’s always nerve wracking going into the show jumping but it is easier to go in second last than last, and Caroline jumped a super round. My horse was brilliant cross country – she cruised round and made it feel really easy which was great. I’m hoping to get her to Le Lion for the seven year old championships at the end of the yea but we’ll have to wait and see.”
There was a French invasion in the Magic CCI**with Thomas Carlile taking the win on Upsilon, who held
on to their overnight lead following a tense show jumping finale. He told Eventing Worldwide: “I am over the moon. To win on the other side of the channel is always quite special for me. He’s a fantastic horse. He was unbelievable in all three phases and he deserves everything he wins and at the moment he’s on form. Hopefully he will keep going. He spooked at the planks in the show jumping and I was a bit bemused by that because he’s an extremely brave horse. I knew I had five penalties over Pippa so I thought I had better get home without touching one and go a bit quicker. He’s only seven but I wanted to bring him over here because I wanted him to ride around a British cross country track – it’s a different technique to the French courses. It was good to get him over some decent ditches and corners and he was fantastic – he stayed the distance and climbed up the hills really well. He’s got the seven year old championships in France in September and then hopefully he’ll go to Le Lion in October.”
Second was Pippa Funnell on Billy Cuckoo, an eight year old mare owned by Sarah and Richard Jewson. She said: “I was sort of hopeful she had the win in the bag. But I’m absolutely delighted with her because she has done well to get here. She fell in the water at Hopetoun and got lose and pierced her knee joint and had to have her joint flushed. It was push and go whether we would get her here. She has been light of work – she had an Open Novice run at Smiths Lawn this week because she wasn’t ready to run before then because she wasn’t allowed to jump. It shows how tough she was.”
Third place went to defending two star champion Matthew Wright on Shannondale Shinawil, a 13 year old Chestnut gelding owned by Jane Phillpott. He said: “I’m very pleased with him. He did a nice test, rode well cross country yesterday and jumped well again today. We knew it was going to be a lot stronger this year than it was last year because there is no Blair two star. We’ll see how he comes out of this but there could be a nice a nice two star in him at Ballindenisk at the end of this year so I might go and nick a few quid over there.”
- Caroline Harris, Billy Bumble; 2. Tom Jackson, Dowalda; 3. Willa Newton, Caja 20; 4. Selina Mills, Iron IV; 5. Nana Dalton, Bogrant; 6. Jolyse TC Bell-Syer, On Show; 7. Sacha Hourigan, Themis; 8. Megan Cummings, MGH Bingo Boy; 9. Sacha Hourigan, Cleopatra II; 10. Jane Buchan, Carleton.
- Thomas Carlile, Upsilon; 2. Pippa Funnell, Billy Cuckoo; 3. Matthew Wright, Shannondale Shinawil; 4. Ryuzo Kitajima, Maruis De Plescop; 5. Jonathan Cisterna Lariviere, Tresor De La Loge; 6. Ian Wills, Hartpury Sky Is The Limit; 7. Will Rawlin, VIP Vinnie; 8. Lionel Guyon, Tactic De Lalou; 9. Panda Christie, Iceberg; 10 Melissandre Avallone, Ghandi.
- William Fox-Pitt, Bay My Hero; 2. Sarah Bullimore, Reve Du Rouet; 3. Ibby Macpherson, Ballingowan Diamond; 4. Sarah Cohen, Treason; 5. William Fox-Pitt, Luxury FH; 6. Kitty King, Persimmon; 7. William Fox-Pitt, Fernhill Pimms; 8. Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp, Fernhill By Night; 9. Dani Evans, Raphael II; 10. Nana Dalton, Abbeylara Prince.
Copy by Sarah Carless
Photography Courtesy of Lucy Hall
3* Cross Country Action