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Sunday, September 04, 2011  •  16:59 BST

Her Royal Highness Princess Royal presents The Land Rover Perpetual Challenge Trophy to Catherine Witt owner of Parklane Hawk, pictured beside Colin Green MD of Land Rover UK.

Her Royal Highness Princess Royal presents The Land Rover Perpetual Challenge Trophy to Catherine Witt owner of Parklane Hawk, pictured beside Colin Green MD of Land Rover UK.


A dream clear round over the coloured poles with Parklane Hawk gave William Fox-Pitt his sixth Burghley victory – and put him in the history books as the first rider to attain this achievement. “I can’t believe it,” said William who first won here in 1994. “He was superb. I might have looked cool but deep down this mattered a lot – it is huge and a real honour”.

As befitted the 50th anniversary event the finale couldn’t have been more dramatic. Incessant and heavy rain completely changed the ground conditions and within the few hours between the morning and afternoons show jumping the going went from good to sticky. William said; “The conditions were against him and going into the arena I was feeling quite sick – Neuf Des Coeurs had three down and I had to go in there saying ‘believe in him’ but realistically thinking what were the chances of a clear round. I am so lucky to have him.” It was an impressive four-star debut for the New Zealand-bred Thoroughbred owned by Catherine Witt and procured just 18 months ago. “He is still green but is one of my big hopes for next year.”

A clear round from Andrew Nicholson and Nereo had put the pressure on the top placed four riders. Mary King and her homebred mare, Kings Temptress, owned by Derek Baden had one down while Andrew on second placed Avebury took out three poles to drop down the order to a final eighth place while the dream win for Caroline Powell (NZL) and Lenamore disappeared when the 15.3hh, 18-year-old had two poles down, but only dropped them one place to a final fourth.

Andrew and Deborah Sellars Spanish bred Nereo – by the Thoroughbred Fines out of a half bred mare by the Hanoverian Golfi – had to settle for the runner up slot. “Both my horses have done well and Nereo did a good job but William’s horse jumped immaculately,” said Andrew who thinks that this year’s Burghley was ‘one of the best’. “It’s been a great Burghley – I think cross-country day was a good day for the sport and there is always such a great crowd here – just look at them – despite the rain they stay to the bitter end.”

Mary had done enough to take third place with Kings Temptress, by Primitive Rising, who won the award for the highest placed British-bred mare and Mary the prize as her breeder. “I am very proud of her,” said Mary who also finished 21st with Apache Sauce. “I had two experienced horses here and am chuffed to bits with them.”

It was also a dream result for New Zealand Burghley debutant Jonathan Paget (27) and Clifton Lush. Another clear round elevated them to a final fifth place – the pair was 35th after dressage – and they finished on their dressage score. The young New Zealander also finished in 12th place with Clifton Promise.

Leicestershire based Clea Phillips had another good Burghley result with Lead The Way who once again finished in sixth place and the pair was the third best British combination in a truly international competition. Lauren Shannon (24) also from Leicestershire proved that last year’s 12th place with Zero Flight – for which she won best first timer – was no fluke. One of the afternoon’s five clear show jumping rounds propelled them 11 places up the leader board after cross-country to a final ninth place and the prize for the best Under-25.

American Boyd Martin concluded his emotional Burghley journey with Neville Bardos with a final seventh place for the miracle horse that was pulled from a fatal fire just three months ago. British rider Tom McEwen might have been disappointed to take out three poles wwith Dry Old Party but his final 19th place meant the 20-year-old won the prize for the highest placed British first-timer as well as the HSBC training bursary for what was an impressive Burghley and four-star debut by the youngest rider on the start list.

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