William Fox-Pitt Claims His Second Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials Title

Badminton, UK, 10 May 2015 – William Fox-Pitt (GBR) claimed his second Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials title riding Chilli Morning after a thrilling final day’s competition. Germany’s Ingrid Klimke was second on Horseware Hale Bob and New Zealand’s Jonathan Paget was third riding Clifton Lush.

It was 11 years since Fox-Pitt last won Badminton back in 2004 and he was not going to squander the chance to claim his second victory despite the strong opposition from the high-class field of international riders, with Germany and New Zealand taking four of the other top five final places.

Andrew Nicholson (NZL) had led from Day One and he was focused on claiming his first ever Badminton title after 31 years of trying. With the cross-country phase not causing too many challenges for the top-placed riders after dressage, the Kelvin Bywater designed show jumping course was to change everything on the leaderboard. The packed grandstands around the main arena saw only five clear rounds before the final top 10 placed riders jumped, and even two of those clears incurred a penalty time fault. It could not have been more tense going into the final five riders, with just three penalties covering them, the cost of one pole down.

Lying in fourth position overnight, Ingrid Klimke came agonisingly close in the end to becoming the first ever German rider to claim the title for a second time, having previously also finished in second place back in 2006. Klimke delivered a perfect clear round to ultimately move her up two places to finish second. Next to go was Great Britain’s Oliver Townend riding Armada who were the 2014 runners-up. Sadly a disastrous round with four poles down took them out of the placings down to 11th position.

Both Fox-Pitt and Nicholson, knew they each had to jump a perfect clear to prevent Klimke from winning, but despite this added pressure, Fox-Pitt delivered a faultless performance to the delight of the home crowd who took to their feet to applaud their British hero. This set up an electric climax to the competition as Nicholson entered the arena on his edgy 15-year-old horse Nereo. The crowd collectively held its breath for Nicholson, but it was not to be as the pair crashed through the second fence to hand Fox-Pitt the Badminton title once more.

A delighted Fox-Pitt said, “It’s been a long time since I won with Tamarillo [in 2004], which makes you realise how hard it is and how everything has to go right. Chilli has had a fantastic week; he’s gone wonderfully well. It hasn’t been a very relaxing day today, but it was my lucky day and Chilli jumped brilliantly.”

Previous Badminton winner Jonathan Paget (NZL) finished in third place despite hitting one pole down, while eventing legend Sir Mark Todd produced a brilliant clear round of show jumping to move up from joint 15th after dressage to fourth overall; and he could have even claimed third place if not for one time fault in the final phase. Rolex Testimonee Pippa Funnell, riding Redesigned, finished in 12th position overall having climbed from 17th place after a superb ride in both the cross-country and show jumping phases.

The win for Fox-Pitt now puts him on course for the $350,000 Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing prize with one step towards claiming the new Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing Trophy, which was officially unveiled at this year’s Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event by Rolex Testimonee Zara Phillips. Fox-Pitt now heads to the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials in September, as the live contender of the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing prize.

TOP 5 PLACINGS AFTER THE FINAL DAY, SHOW JUMPING

1st   William Fox-Pitt (GBR), Chilli Morning, 39.0
2nd  Ingrid Klimke (GER), Horseware Hale Bob, 40.2
3rd   Jonathan Paget (NZL), Clifton Lush, 44.8
4th   Mark Todd (NZL), Leonidas II, 48.0
5th   Bettina Hoy (GER), Designer 10, 48.4

For full results, please visit: www.badminton-horse.co.uk.

THE ROLEX GRAND SLAM OF EVENTING

When Rolex was inspired to link the three foremost eventing competitions in the world into a Grand Slam in 2001, it was immediately apparent that it would require a series of outstanding performances from a remarkable athlete to complete the challenge.

Kentucky, and Badminton – the British horse trials on which the modern sport of eventing was founded – run two weeks apart in the spring, and Burghley, in the east of England, is the autumn highlight of the global sport. All three have stunning settings and attract vast crowds over the four days of competition.

To date, only one rider – Rolex Eventing Testimonee Pippa Funnell – has won this most prestigious series. In 2003 the much-medalled mainstay of British teams for many years took the Rolex Kentucky crown on Primmore’s Pride. She progressed to Badminton a week later and won there on Supreme Rock, her double European Champion, and added the Burghley title that autumn on Primmore’s Pride – beating Zara Phillips into second place on her four-star debut at the same time. Pippa Funnell immediately joined the ranks of sporting greats, respected by her peers and the media alike as an exceptional athlete.

Since then, two of the three legs of the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing have been won by four riders: the Australian Andrew Hoy, Britain’s William Fox-Pitt and Oliver Townend, and the New Zealand hero of six Olympic Games and current live Rolex Grand Slam contender, Andrew Nicholson. None of these top-class riders have yet succeeded in triumphing over the series and winning the final element of the Rolex Grand Slam.

ABOUT ROLEX

Leading brand of the Swiss watch industry, Rolex, headquartered in Geneva, enjoys an unrivalled reputation for quality and expertise the world over. Its Oyster watches, all certified as chronometers for their precision, are symbols of excellence, performance and prestige. Pioneer in the development of the wristwatch as early as 1905, the brand is at the origin of numerous major watchmaking innovations, such as the Oyster, the first waterproof wristwatch, launched in 1926, and the Perpetual rotor self-winding mechanism introduced in 1931. Rolex has registered over 400 patents in the course of its history. A truly integrated and independent manufacturing company, Rolex designs, develops and produces in-house all the essential components of its watches, from the casting of the gold alloys to the machining, crafting, assembly and finishing of the movement, case, dial and bracelet. Rolex also actively supports the arts, sports, exploration, the spirit of enterprise, and the environment through a broad palette of sponsoring activities, as well as philanthropic programmes.

Website
www.rolex.com

Revolution Sports + Entertainment
Merrick Haydon
merrick@revolutionsports.co.uk
+44 77481 868 33

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