Thursday, September 1, 2011

Eventing: HSBC: William Fox-Pitt moves up to world number one in HSBC Rankings

William Fox-Pitt (GBR), a member of the British bronze medal team at last weekend’s HSBC FEI European Eventing Championships, has overtaken team mate Mary King at the head of the HSBC Rankings. Photo: Kit Houghton/FEI


Lausanne (SUI), 1 September 2011

William Fox-Pitt (GBR) has taken over from team mate Mary King as world number one in the HSBC Rankings. The British rider, who is competing at the second last leg of the HSBC FEI Classics™ at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials this week, is now seven points clear of King and will be wearing the HSBC armband at Burghley.

Both Fox-Pitt and King were part of the British team that secured bronze at the HSBC FEI European Eventing Championships in Luhmühlen (GER) last weekend, but King failed to finish after a Cross Country fall.

Newly crowned European champion Michael Jung, who picked up team and individual gold in Luhmühlen, has moved up from ninth to fifth in the HSBC Rankings behind Andrew Nicholson (NZL) and Piggy French (GBR) who remain in third and fourth.

Mary King was the first rider to wear the new HSBC armband when it was launched at the beginning of July this year. She remained out in front last month before being overtaken by Fox-Pitt in the new rankings published today. The rider at the top of the HSBC Rankings at the end of the 2011 Eventing season will receive a 50,000 USD bonus.

The HSBC Rankings were launched in 2008, when HSBC became the global sponsor of FEI Eventing.

HSBC Rankings (top 10)

1,   William Fox-Pitt (GBR), 641 points

2,   Mary King (GBR), 634

3,   Andrew Nicholson (NZL), 513

4,   Piggy French (GBR), 495

5,   Michael Jung (GER), 476

6,   Oliver Townend (GBR), 460

7,   Clayton Fredericks (AUS), 456

8,   Andreas Dibowski (GER), 442

9,   Mark Todd (NZL), 437

10, Pippa Funnell (GBR), 383


Györgyi Bardos of Hungary, pictured right, is the individual FEI European Driving Four-in-Hand Championship title holder. He won the last edition of the event held in 1981.
Lausanne (SUI), 1 September 2011

The FEI Open European Driving Championships for Four-in-Hand are back on the FEI calendar for the first time since 1981. Outdoor Brabant, formally known as Breda Hippique, is proud to host the seventh edition of these Championships, which will be held on the traditional show grounds of the Prinsenhoeve Estate in Breda, The Netherlands, from 1 to 4 September 2011.

Breda has hosted the only national team competition (CAIO) for Four-in-Hand in The Netherlands for many years. In 1995, Breda hosted the first ever European Driving Championships for Four-in-Hand ponies as well as the FEI World Para Equestrian Driving Championships in 2010.

The FEI European Driving Championships for Four-in-Hand were first organised in 1971 in Budapest (HUN) and were held every two years until 1981 at which stage they were discontinued.

The titleholder is Gyorgy Bardos from Hungary, the individual winner of the last 1981 Championships which took place in Zug, Switzerland.

This year’s edition is open to European and non-European drivers. The competition counts as a qualifier for the indoor FEI World Cup™ Driving, which is held during the winter season. Only competitors from Europe can claim the individual and team medals.

Thirty-seven four-in-hand drivers from 12 nations have convened for the event. Nine teams will be measuring their merit in the nations competition.

No less than five World Champions will compete against each other in Breda. Current FEI World Champion and FEI World Cup™ Driving Champion Boyd Exell from Australia is one of the three competitors who will not be able to claim a European medal, but knowing Boyd he will do everything to challenge his European colleagues and to become the winner of this wonderful event. Boyd can expect strong competition from four-time World Champion IJsbrand Chardon (NED), four-in-hand and pair World Champions Zoltan Lazar (HUN) and Werner Ulrich (SUI) as well as double World Champion Tomas Eriksson (SWE).

The FEI Open European Driving Championships for Four-in-Hand will be decided in the usual three phases of the Driving competition; the driven dressage, the spectacular marathon with eight beautiful obstacles and the exciting decisive obstacle driving competition.

For more information on the FEI Open European Driving Championships for Four-in-Hand 2011, please visit the event’s official website

Eventing: Burghley: HSBC FEI Classics™: Fox-Pitt swoops to conquer at Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials

William Fox-Pitt (GBR), the new world number one in the HSBC Rankings, heads the field after the first day of Dressage at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials. Photo: Kit Houghton/FEI.
 Lausanne (SUI), 1 September 2011

William Fox-Pitt (GBR), the new world number one, is on top again, this time at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (GBR), the second-last leg of the HSBC FEI Classics™, where he leads after the first day of Dressage on a mark of 39.7.

Fox-Pitt (GBR), who is wearing the special armband as leader of the HSBC Rankings, has posted the only sub-40 mark so far on his first ride, Catherine Witt’s 11-year-old Parklane Hawk, winner of the Blenheim CCI3* (GBR) last year.

The British pair lead Andrew Nicholson (NZL) and the attractive grey Avebury by 2.3 penalties. Elizabeth Power (IRL) and the ex-racehorse Kilpatrick River, back in action after their fall at Badminton (GBR) in May and making their debut at Burghley, are third. Mary King (GBR), current leader in the HSBC FEI Classics™, is fourth on Apache Sauce.

Andrew Nicholson riding AVEBURY (NZL), 2nd place after 1st day of dressage at Burghley. (Kate Houghton/FEI)
Fox-Pitt, who has been penalised for one error of course – halting at the wrong marker – described scoring in the 30s as a “psychological boost”. He says of the New Zealand-bred Thoroughbred by Grosvenor: “He has a superb brain and a lovely trot. He’s all the things you dream about in a horse.”

Fox-Pitt, Nicholson and King, who have decades of experience at Burghley between them, are viewing with interest the new-look Cross Country course, designed by Mark Phillips (GBR) to have a more traditional look in honour of the event’s 50th birthday.

Fox-Pitt, a five-time Burghley winner, said: “It’s a big, attacking course. It feels quite long, but it’s flowing, which should help riders get into a rhythm.”

Nicholson, the winner in 1995 and 2000, commented: “The first part is quite intense with some difficult lines, and then it’s a lot of big, plain fences. I think the key will be working out where to save energy. It’s a good change of style and I hope we’ll all enjoy it.”

King, the 1996 winner, said: “It looks amazing. The fences are beautiful and much bigger than usual. Apache Sauce is capable of doing it, as long as his rider doesn’t get it wrong!”

Australian rider Chris Burton, paying his first visit to Burghley since 2004, was more blunt: “It’s very big, very long and very scary. A proper four-star track.”

Winner of Adelaide CCI4* in 2008 on Holstein Park Leilani, and currently lying 17th on 54.5, Burton added: “We went through a style in Australia of lots of skinnies and angles. There isn’t much of that here – it’s pretty meaty out there. I just hope I get further than I did last time, when I fell off at the fourth fence.”

Elizabeth Power riding KILPATRICK RIVER (IRL), 3rd after 1st day of dressage at Burghley. (Kate Hougton/FEI)
Another rider who has seen Burghley’s differing styles over 20 years is Blyth Tait (NZL), winner in 1998 and 2001. He is back from a seven-year retirement from the sport and is due to perform his Dressage test tomorrow morning on Santos, a horse by the same sire, Grosvenor, as Parklane Hawk.

Other tests to look forward to include Burghley first-timer Sinead Halpin (USA), who is currently lying seventh in the HSBC FEI Classics™ after finishing third at Rolex Kentucky (USA) in April on Manoir de Carneville, and the German pair Simone Deitermann and NRW Free Easy.

Seven former Burghley winners will come before the Ground Jury of Angela Tucker (GBR), Michel Asseray (FRA) and Christina Klingspor (SWE) tomorrow: Lucinda Fredericks (AUS), defending champion Caroline Powell (NZL), Pippa Funnell (GBR) and Oliver Townend (GBR), as well as Fox-Pitt, King and Nicholson on their second rides.

Follow the action on

Results after first day of Dressage:

1 William Fox-Pitt/Parklane Hawk (GBR) 39.7 penalties

2 Andrew Nicholson/Avebury (NZL) 42.0

3 Elizabeth Power/Kilpatrick River (IRL) 43.3

4 Mary King/Apache Sauce (GBR) 44.8

5 Laurence Hunt/Pheobus (GBR) 45.3

6 Sam Griffiths/Happy Times (AUS) 45.5

7 Gaby Cooke/Sir Roscoe (GBR) 46.3

8 Oliver Townend/Neo du Breuil (GBR) 46.7

9 Fiona Hobby/Roma M.L. (GBR) 48.0

10 James Robinson/Comanche (GBR) 48.8

HSBC FEI Classics Standings™ (after 3 of 5 events)

1 Mary King (GBR) 28 points

2 Piggy French (GBR) 20

3 Mark Todd (NZL) 15

4 Andreas Dibowski (GER) 15

5 Sandra Auffarth (GER) 12

6 Clayton Fredericks (AUS) 12

7 Sinead Halpin (USA) 10

8 Frank Ostholt (GER) 10

9 William Fox-Pitt (GBR) 10

10 Oliver Townend (GBR) 9