Phillips rejects British job offer

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The Independent Online
Equestrianism

Mark Phillips has decided to continue as chef d'equipe and technical advisor to the United States three-day event team, rather than accept the invitation to be the team manager for Great Britain.

"I feel as though we have made great strides in the US over the last few years but that I still have a lot to accomplish and achieve over there," Phillips said yesterday. "I do not feel it would be right to walk out on the Americans with the job only half done."

Financial considerations also came into the reckoning, since there was "a substantial difference" between the two offers. "So although my heart lies in this country, the prudent option was to continue with my job in America," Phillips said.

With the help of Phillips, the US team improved from 10th place after the 1992 Olympic Games to finish as silver medallists in Atlanta, where the British were a disappointing fifth. The Americans regard their chef d'equipe as a brilliant trainer, who can pin-point weaknesses and provide solutions. Their gain is once more likely to be Britain's loss.

Bruce Davidson, who was a member of the US Olympic team, will be riding The Travelling Man in the Land-Rover British Horse Trials Championships which begin today at Gatcombe Park, where Phillips is the organiser and cross-country course designer.

Davidson's opponents in the British Open Championship (which he won in 1986) will include four other previous winners of the title: Mary Thomson, Pippa Funnell, Karen Dixon and last year's winner, William Fox-Pitt.

Thomson and Dixon will be on their Olympic horses (King William and Too Smart) who have been quick to recover from their efforts in Atlanta and are ready for a final run before they take a holiday.

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