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Fox-Pitt Wins Badminton On Chilli Morning
May 10, 2015: William Fox-Pitt (GBR) re-wrote the record books when he became the first rider in history to win a CCI4* on a stallion, jumping a magnificent clear round in the final phase on Christopher Stone’s Chilli Morning to capture the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials, fourth leg of the FEI Classics™ 2014/2015.
The popular German rider Ingrid Klimke finished runner-up by just 1.2 penalties on her new star Horseware Hale Bob, and New Zealander Jock Paget was third on Clifton Lush, a great achievement on a horse coming back after a year’s lay-off for injury.
The finale could not have been more tense, with three penalties – less than the cost of a rail down - covering the first five riders, and all attention on the great Kiwi rider Andrew Nicholson aiming to win Badminton for the first time in 31 years of trying.
Paget, lying fifth after Cross Country, eased the pressure on his rivals when Clifton Lush hit the 11th fence to pick up four faults. Klimke, next into the arena, was immaculately prepared, having been competing her German Thoroughbred gelding in Jumper classes over the winter, and they produced a confident clear.
Next to go were the 2014 runners-up, Oliver Townend (GBR) and Armada, but four fences down dropped the pair to 11th.
Fox-Pitt is known for his ability to deal with extreme pressure and the generous Chilli Morning more than rose to the occasion, jumping as if on springs to record a clear round and switch the burden onto the shoulders of his New Zealand rival.
As the crowd erupted, Nicholson entered on an unsettled Nereo, the 15-year-old chestnut clearly unnerved by the electric atmosphere, and when he hit the second fence it was all over. Two more rails went as well and the pair dropped to sixth place, but the New Zealander somehow managed to find a smile. “I’ll live to fight another day,” he promised.
Fox-Pitt, the first British rider to win Badminton for six years, last triumphed here in 2004 on Tamarillo. “That was a long time ago, and it makes you realize how hard it is,” he said. “It was very easy to think it was all over with a rider like Andrew in front. He doesn’t make many mistakes.”
Chilli Morning will now return to stud duties and will not compete again this year. “He’s a fantastic horse with a brilliant brain and he wants to work.” Fox-Pitt was quick to heap praise on Nick Gauntlett, the rider who produced the stallion up to four-star level.
Ingrid Klimke said Horseware Hale Bob had given her a great ride in all three phases and she was keen to pay tribute to Chris Bartle, the German team trainer “because he always had faith in us”.
Jock Paget, withdrew his 2013 winner Clifton Promise (10th after Cross Country) before Stadium Jumping.
1 William Fox-Pitt/Chilli Morning (GBR) 39.0 + 0 + 0 = 39.0
2 Ingrid Klimke/Horseware Hale Bob (GER) 40.2 + 0 + 0 = 40.2
3 Jock Paget/Clifton Lush (NZL) 40.8 + 0 + 4 = 44.8
4 Mark Todd/Leonidas ll (NZL) 45.8 + 1.2 + 1 = 48.0
5 Bettina Hoy/Designer 10 (GER) 42.8 + 1.6 + 4 = 48.4
6 Andrew Nicholson/Nereo (NZL) 37.8 + 0 + 12 = 49.8
7 Nicola Wilson/One Two Many (GBR) 47.0 + 4 + 0 = 51.0
8 Aoife Clark/Vaguely North (IRL) 42.9 + 4.8 + 4 = 51.7
9 Michael Ryan/Ballylynch Adventure (IRL) 52.1 + 1.2 + 0 = 53.3
10 Sam Griffiths/Paulank Brockagh (AUS) 48.2 + 1.6 + 4 = 53.8
Full results on www.badminton-horse.co.uk
Photos courtesy of FEI
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