Fox-Pitt keeps composed for victory

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The Independent Online
William Fox-Pitt won the Calor Gas British Open Championship for the first time yesterday, when 15-year-old Chaka made light of Captain Mark Phillips's 27 cross-country fences. He defeated Mary King, on Star Appeal, and Kristina Gifford, on the 16-year-old Song and Dance Man.

Chaka, who was in the lead at Badminton in May until failing the final horse inspection, had been the runner-up in this contest, which incorporates the national championship, a year ago. This time he had a disappointing start when the dressage judges penalised him for two "errors of course" which added six penalties to his score.

King, who had won this title twice before, had looked to be cruising to a third victory before parting company with King William after the horse jumped sharply left at the Gatcombe Hedges, fence 18. "It was my fault for allowing him to do it," King said.

Karen Dixon, last year's winner of the British Open, was among those who withdrew before the cross-country. She is saving Too Smart and Get Smart for the Scottish Championships, at Thirlestane Castle on 19 and 20 August.

Chaka may retire after his victory, although there remains a possibility that Fox-Pitt will give him one last run at Thirlestane.

Results, Sporting Digest, page 21