William Fox-Pitt: Rolex Grand Slam Diary

William Fox-Pitt at Burghley, 2011 | ? ROLEX

Welcoming a new member to the Fox-Pitt family
The big excitement at the end of October last year was definitely the arrival of Chloe Rose into the family! Luckily she waited to appear before I got back from Pau, so her timing was perfect. She’s now six month’s old and it’s like she’s always been here–she gets on really well with her two older brothers, and parents for that matter–we’ve been very lucky, she’s a good girl!

Taking a break over the winter months
The break I had between November and January was fairly baby focused! Normally at that time of year we would have a holiday, Alice and I, but this year that wasn’t really going to be possible. That said I did go to Adelaide for the 4* event over there. I was originally going to take a horse to the show, but by the time that had become impossible to do due to horse quarantines, I was already committed to going, so I went to Australia for 10 days, which was highly enjoyable–there was very hot nice weather, and it was good to experience a different side of the world.

Apart from that we’ve just been around the UK enjoying a quieter time over the winter. The horses had a holiday, grooms had a holiday, we had a holiday, and although we didn’t get away we were by no means working hard.

Feelings around the Fox-Pitt camp at the start of 2013
The feeling around the team is good. After the Olympics I felt that this year may be a bit of an anti-climax for everyone as it was such a big focus throughout last season, but actually this year has got me really excited due to our horses’ prospects. I had a few that missed 2012 because of injury that have now come back into work which is great, so for the season ahead I have lots of exceptional horses to concentrate on.

New horses and resolutions in 2013
I’ve got a new top horse called Running Order who came from America, and I’m very excited about him. He’s produced by Doug Payne and is at the 4* level, he rode in the Rolex Kentucky last year, and although it’s early days he’s a super horse. Cool Mountain is also back having been injured last year, which was a shame as he missed out on the Olympics. I’m hoping he will be back up to top form very soon.
I don’t have any big New Year’s resolutions, although the main promise to myself was not to get too carried away by all of the Rolex Grand Slam hype. It’s going to be very important for me to treat Badminton like any other three day event, and to just focus on getting the horses and myself there in the best possible condition to perform at our best.

Start of the spring season
The spring season has started well, we did have quite a frustrating start with cancellations at two or three events thanks to the weather, but since then its dried up well and I’ve had some good competitions with the horses, including Burnham Market and Weston Park, where the horses have run well and felt good. Results aren”t always my focus at the one day events but they are always good training for the three-days.

Plans leading up to Kentucky and Badminton
I’m competing in Belton before Kentucky, but I won’t be there on the last day as Chloe is being christened. Apart from that, there are a couple of smaller events, but the horses will leave for America a few weeks before the event which doesn’t allow for any more.

Sea Cookie and Chilli Morning are on their way to Kentucky

and I’m taking Parklane Hawk and Oslo to Badminton.

The Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing
It’s been very much business as usual for me in the lead up to Badminton, but there has been some perennial hype surrounding Badminton and this year the Rolex Grand Slam too. The build-up is always exciting, and this season has been fantastic with lots of media interest and various interviews. It’s important for me to realize though that winning at Badminton is a very long shot, as this year looks very competitive thanks largely to a high international contingent, including Michael Jung among others. Then again, if I do my bit, with the horses on good form, it’s by no means a foregone conclusion.

I don’t think whether Andrew Nicholson is in contention for the Rolex Grand Slam or not makes much difference to me. I have to win Badminton either way if I am to claim the Grand Slam, which means beating him. However it would obviously make things highly exciting, and create another edge to the competition, which everyone would love, but I think it won’t make that much difference at the end of the day.

The season so far has gone to plan and things are going well–the horses have found themselves in good form, I’ve been lucky to get the calculations right in terms of runs with horses, but then again sometimes when you have a terrible build up you are better on the day; I’m not thinking like that though obviously!

William Fox-Pitt is the current live contender for the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing prize.

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