RK3DE: Second-placed Fox-Pitt in reach of Grand Slam

William Fox-Pitt and Parklane Hawk
William Fox-Pitt and Parklane Hawk

It is still early days, but the second placing by Britain’s William Fox-Pitt after the dressage at the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event in Lexington has left the rider in a good position to take out the Rolex Grand Slam this year.

As the winner of Burghley, if Fox-Pitt can win this weekend in Kentucky, and then at Badminton next week, he will be the first rider since Pippa Funnell (GB) in 2003 to capture the elusive $350,000 prize.

“I am very pleased. Parklane Hawk is a fantastic horse with great ability and good focus,” Fox-Pitt said after his test, which has him behind the USA’s Allison Springer (USA) riding Arthur.

“It’s a good position to be in we’ve got a lot more to do and certainly very exciting. But I’m not thinking about the Rolex Grand Slam – hopefully if I put in my best performance here then I might be another stage closer, but there is a long way to go,” Fox-Pitt said.

“The test wasn’t 100% perfect and showed a few glitches he didn’t have last year. He felt the pressure of coming back in a big arena and was a bit edgy at times but, overall, he did a great job. This weekend will tell me more about his abilities. If all goes well, he could be the one for Greenwich!”

Going into the cross-country phase, Fox-Pitt said “the pressure is on”.  “This is a clever course, very well presented. It will have a cumulative effect. By the time you jump the third-last fence, you’ll know you’ve been riding a proper CCI4*.

“I’m very excited about Parklane – he is a good horse, we did a good test. I think at this stage it’s a good position to be in but I am going to have my work cut out with the pressure on and I am going to have to go for it tomorrow.”

He said he felt the cross-country was  “there to be jumped”.

“There are not a lot of options really if you are going to be competitive – you’ve got to get out there and attack it. I’m just going to set out and see how he feels, certainly at this stage I am not planning any long routes and hoping to come back nicely inside the time after a big galloping round, but you have to dream the day before don’t you because otherwise you would be running off home.”

Commenting on the Derek di Grazia designed cross-country course, competition leader Springer acknowledged ity was a tough course. “Last year, I had a tremendous ride. I know what I need to do to produce my best tomorrow. Hopefully, I can make good decisions.”

In third place is Springer’s compatriot Clark Montgomery on Loughan Glen. “My horse is young and green but he’s a sweetheart and he wants to do his job. He understands the three phases of eventing and he always tries, which makes him a real competitor.”

» Full results after the dressage phase





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