MARY King has paid her fellow London Olympian William Fox-Pitt a glowing tribute as he bids for his latest title assault at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials.
Both riders – British team silver medallists at Greenwich Park four weeks ago – are among a star-studded international field chasing the £55,000 top prize.
Sturminster Newton’s Fox-Pitt, though, also has his eyes on the HSBC Classics Series crown, which rewards world eventing’s most consistent four-star rider over a 12-month period.
Only New Zealander Andrew Nicholson can stop Fox-Pitt’s bid for the £90,000 Classics purse, but the British number one is in majestic form and has won his last three four-star events at Burghley 2011, Pau and Kentucky.
The 43-year-old can also boast a record six Burghley titles, and is back in Lincoln-shire aboard last year’s winner Parklane Hawk aiming for another piece of history.
No rider in the competition’s long history has won Burghley back-to-back on the same horse, but that considerable achievement is certainly not beyond him.
“William is the top rider in the world,” King said.
“He is the most wonderful rider. He rides the horses so quietly and softly and in such a great style.
“He is right at the top. In my eyes, the best there has been.”
King and Fox-Pitt are the only members of Great Brit-ain’s Olympic silver medal-winning eventing team at Greenwich Park last month that are taking on the four-day Burghley challenge, which started with yesterday’s opening dressage tests.
King rides her Olympics reserve horse Kings Temp-tress, third at Burghley last year, while Fox-Pitt doubles up aboard Parklane Hawk and Seacookie.