leading three day event rider Pippa Funnell is facing one of the
most difficult decisions of her very successful career, which could
result in a $250,000 payout and a place in the history books.
her victories at Kentucky and Badminton earlier this year, she will
pick up a bonus of $250,000 if she can win the Burghley Masterfoods
Horse Trials in September and become the first rider ever to complete
the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing.
has to decide whether to run her most experienced horse and dual
Badminton winner Supreme Rock at Burghley to increase her chance
of collecting the bonus, or save him for the European Championships
at Punchestown two weeks later, where she will be bidding to win
her third consecutive European title and help the British team to
defend the gold medal they won in Pau in 2001.
has the choice of three other horses for Burghley and Punchestown
but running Supreme Rock at Burghley rather than the European Championships
would deny him the chance to become the first horse to win three
consecutive European titles.
a nice problem to have I suppose," says Funnell, "but
there are a lot of things to consider and the welfare of the horses
comes first. It would be lovely to win the Rolex Grand Slam but
it would also be great if Supreme Rock could win a third consecutive
European title. I have four horses entered at Burghley and I can
only ride two there and one at Punchestown, so it will depend on
which horse is in the best form - at the end of the day the horses
usually make the decision for you."
is unlikely to make her final decision until she arrives at Burghley
but much will depend on how the horses perform at next week's Scottish
Championships at Thirlestane Castle (August 16-17). In addition
to Supreme Rock, she also has the choice of her Kentucky winner
Primmore's Pride; Cornerman, sixth at Badminton this year, and Walk
On Star, winner of the Saumur International Horse Trials in France
her decision, Funnell will have the full support of the British
team selectors. "We are with Pippa all the way," says
Lucinda Green, former World and European champion and now chairman
of the selection committee. "She has four top class horses
and we know that she will do whatever is best."
Burghley Masterfoods Horse Trials take place from September 4-7
at Burghley Park, Stamford, Lincolnshire; for advance ticket bookings
visit the website at www.burghley-horse.co.uk
or telephone the Box Office on 01933 304744.
European Three Day Event Championships take place from September
18-21 at Punchestown in Ireland.