William Fox-Pitt takes his third Kentucky title

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William Fox-Pitt has set a new record, winning the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event for the third time, on three different horses.

Cool head

William kept a typically cool head to guide Bay My Hero to a clear round in the final phase and take the title.

American rider Allison Springer led after the dressage with a score of 39.5pen, with William in second place on 44.0pen. However, Alison had a run out on the cross-country, which moved Williamto the top of the leaderboard following a faultless performance.

Going into the showjumping William had a lead of 2.6 penalties ahead of USA’s Lauren Kieffer. It was only the 26-year old’s second four-star event, but she jumped a brilliant clear round on Veronica, which meant William had to leave all the poles up, to hold on to the top spot.

Crazy atmosphere

Bay My Hero, who William says is not that experienced at this level, rose to the occasion.

“He was superb,” said William. “Lauren really put the pressure on me so I was going in there thinking I am so pleased that even if it’s not me then it’s going to be an American because the support is so amazing over here. The atmosphere in there is crazy. He jumped so well, he was magic.”

It was a great weekend for the new US team trainer David O’Connor, as home riders dominated the top placings, with Bruce Davidson third,Sinead Halpin fourth andMarilyn Littlein fifth and sixth position.

“The Americans are looking really strong,” said William, who also came ninth with Seacookie TSF. “We’ll all really have to watch our backs at the World Equestrian Games this summer.”

Three wins, three watches

Along with $80,000, William heads back to the UK with this third Rolex watch: “My wife, Alice, has the second one, and I guess this one will be for one of my sons,” he said.

The 45-year-old’s previous wins at the US four-star event were on Cool Mountain in 2010 and Parklane Hawk in 2012.

“Each one is special for its own merits,” William said. “You can never believe it’s happened until it’s come off. I didn’t come here expecting to win. I came here expecting to enjoy two nice horses,” he said.

This Kentucky victory is William’s 13th CCI4* win and gives him a 15 point lead in this year’s FEI Classics after three out of six legs.