William Fox-Pitt has won the CIC3* at St James’s Place Barbury International Horse Trials, beating Barbury specialist Andrew Nicholson into second place.
This is William’s best result since returning to the saddle after he suffered a serious head injury in a fall in October 2015. The 48-year-old was riding Clifton Signature, who he recently took over from Jock Paget.
“The big shock of Barbury was somehow winning the 3* on Clifton Signature,” admitted William on his blog. “That kind of result was never on the agenda so it is even more appreciated. It’s my biggest win for ages.”
Tina Cook led after the first two phases on Billy the Red, but withdrew before the cross-country, which left William and Signature in the lead going into the final phase.
The pair were last to go on Mark Phillips’s influential cross-country track and finished just four seconds over the optimum time to win the class.
“I was really hoping to just have a nice run on him and get to know him a little bit more,” said William. “I have to admit to be quite surprised that I was as close to the time.
“He is a very good cross-county horse and gave me a superb round, he is good fun to ride and made my life very easy.”
Andrew Nicholson finished second on his rising star Swallow Springs, while British number one Oliver Townend was third on Note Worthy.
The weekend of international eventing at Barbury culminated in the third leg of the Event Rider Masters, which was won by French rider Thomas Carlile and his stunning grey stallion Upsilon.
Last year’s champions Andrew Nicholson and Nereo had to settle for second place – breaking their incredible run of five wins in five years. Sir Mark Todd and Leonidas ll came third, while Pippa Funnell was the best placed Brit in fifth place with Chippieh.