William Fox-Pitt Wins the Fourth Leg of the HSBC FEI Classics at Burghley
RELEASE: September 9, 2008
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Malina Gueorguiev
William Fox-Pitt of Great Britain is invincible in the 2008 HSBC FEI Classics rankings, having scored an emphatic one-two at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials in Lincolnshire, England, the fourth out of the five legs in the series.
He is 25 points clear of American Phillip Dutton, who was unfortunately not able to improve on his score, despite lying second at Burghley, as he had to withdraw his horse Woodburn before the final horse inspection.
Therefore, all eyes will be on Nicolas Touzaint of France at the final event, Les Etoiles de Pau, to see if last year's winner there can improve upon his third position with 15 points.
Great Britain's Mary King, third and fourth at Burghley, entered the rankings for the first time in ninth place with 10 points. Nicola Wilson, also of Great Britain who sits in fifth, has moved up into 10th place with 10 points also, adding six points to the four she scored at Badminton in the spring.
Fox-Pitt has now entered the Burghley record books, equaling Mark Todd and Ginny Elliot's record of five victories, and becoming the third rider to score a one-two in the event's 47-year history. In finishing first and second on Tamarillo and Ballincoola, he follows Todd with Wilton Fair and Charisma in 1987 and Blyth Tait of New Zealand in 1998 with Chesterfield and Aspyring.Emotional Victory
It was an emotional victory for Fox-Pitt, 39, who was disappointed not to take his much-loved Tamarillo to the Olympics. The pair have had a rollercoaster career since they were first united in 2000 by Tamarillo's owner-breeder Mary Guinness.
They won Badminton and Olympic Team Silver in 2004, but the horse was injured in Athens and was not able to jump for an individual medal on the last day. They came back to be second at Badminton in 2005 and win European Team Gold and Individual Silver medals, plus Team Silver at the 2006 FEI World Equestrian Games, but a major victory eluded them for four years despite the 16-year-old part Arab gelding's obvious ability.
"This is an emotional result for me," said Fox-Pitt. "Tam has been a fantastic horse. He made the cross-country feel easy and I don't think I'll ever have another ride like it."
Fox-Pitt also had mixed emotions about his runner-up spot on Ballincoola, as this will be his last ride on the horse, as he is being passed to the owner Judy Skinner's grandson to ride at junior level.King Reigns Supreme
Mary King, one of the most popular and enduring international riders whose career spans 20 years at this level, finished third and fourth on Imperial Cavalier and Apache Sauce.
"I'm so lucky to have two such exciting horses," said the reigning European Silver medalist. "They are both 12, but they have plenty of years of promise and I think there is more to come.
"Apache Sauce used to be quite lively, but he has learned to settle. I'm so impressed with him. And Imperial Cavalier is a special horse. At Badminton I felt I had let him down with our mistake two from home, so it's been great to be able to make it up to him here."Influential Jumping
The jumping phase proved influential, especially the double and treble combinations, with riders still climbing the order despite having one and two fences down. Only two managed double clears, Wilson on high-jumping Opposition Buzz, fifth, and Clea Phillipps, sixth on the handsome racing-bred Lead The Way.
Single faults from Mary King on both horses gave Fox-Pitt breathing space and, by the time he went into the arena at the climax, he had already won on Ballincoola and had four fences in hand to win on Tamarillo, who used up two of those lives.
"I knew he'd knock down the second fence. It was facing the cameras and had his name all over it. I knew he'd be distracted," said Fox-Pitt affectionately. "He perhaps lacked his usual spring after his amazing effort across co