WILLIAM Fox-Pitt has been hailed as “the greatest there has ever been” ahead of his bid for a magnificent seventh Burghley Horse Trials title this weekend.
Fox-Pitt arrives in Lincolnshire straight from Normandy, where he won individual bronze aboard the stallion Chilli Morning and helped a Great Britain quartet also including Zara Phillips, Tina Cook and Harry Meade land silver at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.
The world number one eventer from Sturminster Newton has entered former Burghley champion Parklane Hawk and this year’s Rolex Kentucky winner Bay My Hero in his quest for a £60,000 first prize and seventh Burghley crown in 20 years.
Fox-Pitt will start as firm favourite at the event that starts today, which he has consistently made his own since claiming a first victory in 1994.
And twice Badminton winner Lucinda Green, one of only three British riders to be crowned world individual champion and an Olympic team silver medallist in 1984, has no doubt he is the rider to beat.
“He is so much the greatest there has ever been,” Green said.
“Whereas Germany’s Michael Jung has won all three (Olympic, world and European individual gold) and William hasn’t won any, William has won more than 50 three-day events during his career.
“William thinks that Michael Jung is untouchable, the best he has ever seen, but I think William is better.
“It’s his tremendous feel for a horse that makes him so good.
“Chilli Morning is a stallion and he can get tricky, but William has harmony with the horse, as he showed again during the World Equestrian Games.
“He is capable of understanding a horse so well and training a horse so well. He doesn’t dominate the horse, he harmonises.”