William Fox-Pitt to miss Badminton Horse Trials
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 21/04/16 5:20pm
Defending champion and former world No 1 William Fox-Pitt has withdrawn from next month's Badminton Horse Trials.
The 47-year-old British eventing star made the decision following a recent run with his intended Badminton ride Parklane Hawk at the Weston Park competition in Shropshire, where Parklane Hawk fell during the cross-country.
Fox-Pitt, who won Badminton last year aboard the stallion Chilli Morning, only returned to competition three weeks ago after he suffered head trauma in a fall during last October's World Young Horse Championships in France.
In a post on his official website, multiple major championship medallist Fox-Pitt said: "After the disappointment of our performance at Weston Park, I have decided that we have run out of time for Badminton.
"It is obviously a shame not to be heading back, but you have to have the right preparation for a competition like this. Parklane Hawk has got the whole autumn to look forward to.
"I am competing this weekend at Bicton [in Devon], and my next big target is the first leg of the Event Rider Masters at the Dodson & Horrell Chatsworth Horse Trials."
Fox-Pitt became the first British winner of Badminton - the world's top four-star event - for six years last May.
Badminton Horse Trials director Hugh Thomas added: "We are naturally sorry that the reigning champion is not returning to Badminton.
"But we are delighted that William is in such good health, and wish him the best of luck for a successful rest of the season."
Badminton this year is a pivotal event during the Rio Olympics build-up, with Great Britain's eventing selectors taking a close look at combinations challenging for just four places available in the team for Brazil.