Since William Fox-Pitt is in contention to win the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing should he claim the Badminton CCI**** the week after Rolex Kentucky, it's only fitting to catch up and see what his year has been like since his last visit to Kentucky.
Congratulations on welcoming a new member to the Fox-Pitt family!
The big excitement at the end of October last year was definitely the arrival of Chloe Rose into the family! Luckily she waited to appear before I got back from Pau, so her timing was perfect. She’s now 6 months old and it’s like she’s always been here. She gets on really well with her two older brothers, and parents for that matter. We’ve been very lucky—she’s a good girl!
You had a bit of a winter break between November and January, how did you spend it?
The break I had between November and January was fairly baby-focused! Normally at that time of year we would have a holiday, Alice and I, but this year that wasn’t really going to be possible. That said I did go to Adelaide for the four-star event over there. I was originally going to take a horse to the show, but by the time that had become impossible to do due to horse quarantines, I was already committed to going, so I went to Australia for 10 days, which was highly enjoyable. There was very hot nice weather, and it was good to experience a different side of the world.
Apart from that we’ve just been around the U.K. enjoying a quieter time over the winter. The horses had a holiday, grooms had a holiday, we had a holiday, and although we didn’t get away we were by no means working hard.
What’s the feeling been around your team since you came back in January?
The feeling around the team is good. After the Olympics I felt that this year may be a bit of an anti-climax for everyone as it was such a big focus throughout last season, but actually this year has got me really excited due to our horses’ prospects. I had a few that missed 2012 because of injury that have now come back into work which is great, so for the season ahead I have lots of exceptional horses to concentrate on.
Do you have any new horses?
I’ve got a new top horse called Running Order who came from America, and I’m very excited about him. He was produced by Doug Payne and is at the four-star level; he completed the Rolex Kentucky last year, and although it’s early days he’s a super horse. Cool Mountain is also back having been injured last year, which was a shame as he missed out on the Olympics. I’m hoping he will be back up to top form very soon.
Did you set yourself any New Year’s resolutions? Anything big planned for 2013?
I don’t have any big New Year’s resolutions, although the main promise to myself was not to get too carried away by all of the Rolex Grand Slam hype. It’s going to be very important for me to treat Badminton like any other three-day event, and to just focus on getting the horses and myself there in the best possible condition to perform at our best.
How has the spring season started?
We did have quite a frustrating start with cancellations at two or three events thanks to the weather, but since then its dried up well and I’ve had some good competitions with the horses, including Burnham Market and Weston Park, where the horses have run well and felt good. Results aren't always my focus at the one-day events but they are always good training for the three-days.
Which horses are you planning to take to Kentucky?
Sea Cookie and Chilli Morning are here.
What about Badminton?
For Badminton I’m taking [2012 Rolex Kentucky CCI**** winner] Parklane Hawk and Oslo.
What have your thoughts been about potentially winning the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing at Badminton in May?
It’s been very much business as usual for me in the lead-up to Badminton, but there has been some perennial hype surrounding Badminton and this year the Rolex Grand Slam too. The build-up is always exciting, and this season has been fantastic with lots of media interest and various interviews.
It’s important for me to realize though that winning at Badminton is a very long shot, as this year looks very competitive thanks largely to a high international contingent, including Michael Jung among others. Then again, if I do my bit, with the horses on good form, it’s by no means a foregone conclusion.
The season so far has gone to plan and things are going well—the horses have found themselves in good form, I’ve been lucky to get the calculations right in terms of runs with horses, but then again sometimes when you have a terrible build up you are better on the day. I’m not thinking like that though obviously!