Chilli Morning’s warm glow of success at Badminton reflects on Chipping Sodbury rider

June 10 2015

Nick had originally found Chilli Morning, rode him in his early career and got him to the highest four-star level of the sport, including completing Burghley in 2011, before the owners moved the horse initially to Mary King and then to the Fox-Pitt yard.

THE most prestigious prize in eventing returned to British hands when William Fox-Pitt secured victory on Chilli Morning at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials.
A finish that went right to the wire had thousands of spectators gripped on the last of four days of close competition.
Lying second after the dressage and cross-country phases, William clinched his second Badminton title – 11 years after his first - by going clear in the deciding showjumping stage when many others faulted.
Later he was quick to praise Chipping Sodbury’s Nick Gauntlett for a six-year involvement in the success of the horse – the first stallion to win Badminton.
Nick had originally found Chilli Morning, rode him in his early career and got him to the highest four-star level of the sport, including completing Burghley in 2011, before the owners moved the horse initially to Mary King and then to the Fox-Pitt yard.
The new Badminton champion said: “Nick deserves all the credit. He’s done a brilliant job with Chilli and I’ve been very lucky to take on the horse, who’s obviously now got a good chance of being selected for the Rio Olympics.”
Nick said: “I’m delighted for William and Chilli, who is such a lovely horse.”
Nick’s own Badminton didn’t pan out as hoped. He withdrew Crown Talisman when the horse developed a high temperature and although completing the dressage with the less experienced El Grado, decided against running him across country.
However, he was presented with a coveted Armada Dish, given the year after a rider completes Badminton for the fifth time.
As one of the UK’s biggest sporting events, Badminton attracted huge crowds – most turning out to watch the testing cross-country challenge.
New Zealander Andrew Nicholson had led with Nereo after the dressage and maintained his position after going across country, leaving him “still living the dream” of a much wanted victory.
But last to go in the showjumping as the tension mounted, a costly three fences down meant he has now completed Badminton a record 35 times but still hasn’t won.
The errors dropped Nereo to sixth place while his stablemate, Calico Joe, just missed a top 20 finish.
Germany’s Ingrid Klimke was runner-up with Horseware Hale Bob after a “wonderful” cross-country ride and a clear showjumping round, while past winner Jock Paget was third with Clifton Lush and his Kiwi team-mate, Mark Todd, was fourth on Leonidas II.
Bettina Hoy was fifth for Germany on Designer 10 and Nicola Wilson was the highest placed British woman - seventh with One Two Many. She also completed with Beltane Queen. Last year’s champion, Sam Griffiths, was tenth on Paulank Brockagh.
A showjumping disaster for Oliver Townend, third after cross-country with Armada, dropped them to 11th place.