Fantastic Funnell storms to Burghley win

Fantastic Funnell storms to Burghley win

08 September 2019 / 17:58

Pippa Funnell rolled back the years by sensationally winning her first Burghley Horse Trials title in 16 years by the narrowest of margins from Piggy French.

Funnell – a three-time Olympic medallist – took the title by just 0.1 penalty points on MGH Grafton Street.

French was seeking her second major title of the year following success at the Badminton Horse Trials in May but Funnell led from start to finish, signing off with a masterful showjumping display.

“I’m just in a state of shock,” she said.

“I worked out that, from when I started eventing to when I had my first senior title at Europeans it seemed forever, it was 14 years.

“It’s been 14 years now since I won a big one, as long as it was before my first win, it’s a long time. I felt like I was out of practice going in with that amount of pressure.

“He’s not an easy show jumper, he’s lost two Blenheim titles. He could have won Tattersalls as well and I just said all the time that I was convinced he had a big one in him.

“I wasn’t going to give up until I got it out of him but I’m thrilled with him. It’s his first time at this level and who would have dreamt that he would do this.

“He can often find a fence and you never know where it’s going to come, he can just have one anywhere for no reason. I’ve still got to go home and work on it.

“The whole week has just been incredible and it just shows how fortunes can change. You can think you are too long in the tooth but actually I have to thank my horses.” 

Oliver Townsend completed an all-British podium by finishing third, while Imogen Murray and Gemma Tattersall landed top-ten finishes.

Sportsbeat 2019