Fox-Pitt Partner Oratorio Passes Away at Lincolnshire

William Fox-Pitt and Oratorio II. Photo by Shelby Allen.

We are deeply saddened to report today that William Fox-Pitt’s 5* partner, Oratorio (Oslo Biats – Cinnamon Brulee), suffered a heart attack between fences while competing in the Open Intermediate division at Lincolnshire this weekend. The gelding, known as “Rio” around the barn, was 14.

William wrote the following statement, which was shared by longtime head groom and yard manager Jackie Potts:

“After a rapid turnaround with the lorry on Saturday, we picked up Alex VT to help with the driving, and we picked up the three Advanced horses. We were very lucky to be staying overnight with Piggy [March], sadly we arrived rather late but the stables were all ready for us which was very spoiling. We had another pretty early start to get up for Lincoln.

Oratorio got the day off to a brilliant start in the dressage with a score of 23, he felt so established and relaxed, even though it was an OI I was quite excited. He jumped a very respectable show jumping round with one pole down.

The cross country turned the day into a tragedy. He flew the first part of the cross country course, feeling amazing and making it all seemless. But then the worst happened; we were galloping towards the last fence and he collapsed and died from a heart attack.

There is no easy way of saying this but it was out of nowhere, he was one minute feeling fantastic and next minute gone, and I have to take consolation from the fact that he did not suffer, there was no indication that anything was untoward and we all have to believe that, with any animal there is always uncertainty.

My devastation extends to the whole Oratorio team who have supported him for so long, and believed in him. We were all very excited about Badminton 2023, and he had really felt like an established mature 5* event horse.

The Lincoln team dealt with the nightmare brilliantly, they were very professional and efficient and I am very grateful for all their support.

My team were brilliant too, and much as we would have preferred not to, we had to continue with the day to qualify the horses for the season ahead.”

William Fox-Pitt and Oratorio II. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Bred by Cozmo Jenks, Oratorio was the offspring of one of William’s 5* winners, 2011 Pau champion Oslo. He began his international eventing career under the tutelage of fellow Brit Laura Collett before transferring to William’s string ahead of the 2017 season. William would then produce the gelding up to his 5* debut at Badminton in 2019, where he finished 13th overall. He also finished in the top-30 at Pau that same year. In 2022, William and Oratorio finished 14th at Badminton. He was owned and loved by the Oratorio Syndicate, and will be immensely missed.

Please join us in sending condolences and comfort to the Fox-Pitt team.

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