Equestrianism: Witch Way for Funnell

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The Independent Online
Pippa Funnell had not expected to be among the competitors for the Chubb Insurance Windsor International Horse Trials, which begin today in Windsor Great Park. Having won the international section there for the last two years, she did not have a suitable mount in her yard on which to aim for a hat-trick.

Funnell has since been offered the ride on Witch Way whose owner, Briony Holloway, was injured in a fall at Dauntsey last month. Funnell has had one outing with the mare when finishing seventh at Goring Heath at the end of April.

"I wanted to support Windsor and I aim to have some fun there," Funnell said. Although Witch Way is a nice quality mare, she lacks experience and is unlikely to produce a good enough dressage test to give Funnell a third victory.

The value of Windsor as a stepping stone to greater things was demonstrated at Punchestown in Ireland last weekend, when Funnell finished runner-up to the United States rider Bruce Davidson on Squelch. Funnell was riding Designer Tramp, who won at Windsor two years ago.

Lucinda Murray is another competitor who is taking over from an injured rider. She will be on Night Flight VII, who was due to be ridden by her owner, Sarah Brown, until she sustained back and arm injuries in a recent fall. Last year Brown jumped clear cross-country and show jumping rounds in the national section at Windsor to finish in ninth place.

Andrew Nicholson will be riding in his fifth three-day event in the same number of weeks when he rides the former point-to-point horse Whit Monday, one of 34 horses in the New Zealander's Somerset yard. The nine-year-old, who is a big and leggy horse of 17.3 hands, finished sixth in the French three-day event at Pau last year.

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