Equestrianism: Funnell clear for third title

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The Independent Online

Pippa Funnell achieved her third victory in the Badminton Horse Trials when defeating last year's victor, her long-time friend and rival William Fox-Pitt, by the tiny margin of 1.6pts.

Pippa Funnell achieved her third victory in the Badminton Horse Trials when defeating last year's victor, her long-time friend and rival William Fox-Pitt, by the tiny margin of 1.6pts.

Fox-Pitt had piled on the pressure with a faultless performance on the agile Tamarillo, leaving Funnell needing a clear round and no more than one time fault on Primmore's Pride to repeat her triumphs of 2002 and 2003 with Supreme Rock and collect the record first prize of £50,000. Despite the toe-curling tension, Funnell kept her cool to jump clear, well within the time.

"My brain goes a bit numb, but you just have to shut everything out of your mind and concentrate on the job you have to do," Funnell said. The crowds, who had watched her in stressful silence, were glad to let rip with sustained and thunderous applause for the 36-year-old heroine of the day.

Australia's Andrew Hoy had the distinction of being the only rider to finish without cross-country or show jumping penalties on two horses, finishing third and sixth. Andrew Nicholson, of New Zealand, also set a proud record by becoming the first rider to complete Badminton on 23 occasions, finishing fourth this time on Lord Killinghurst. Britain's Kitty Boggis, 22, became best of the newcomers to this annual classic by filling seventh place on Five Boys.

Yoshiaki Oiwa, a 28-year-old Japanese rider who is based in England had enjoyed his moment of glory on Saturday when lying third behind Funnell and Fox-Pitt after a superb cross-country round. But, when asked whether his horse was a good show jumper, his answer was to the point. "No," he said. He was not joking. Voyou du Roc had three fences down and took a dive to 11th.

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