Fox-Pitt a class apart

09 June 2012 / 19:21

World number one William Fox-Pitt delivered an equestrian eventing masterclass at the Equi-Trek Bramham International Horse Trials that underlined his Olympic medal credentials.

Fox-Pitt is expected to spearhead Great Britain's London 2012 title bid next month, with the five-strong group for Greenwich Park set to be announced in a few days' time.

The 43-year-old has rarely ridden better during a glittering career that has harvested numerous major championship medals, and he confirmed that form by taking an overnight lead in both the CCI and CIC three-star competitions at Bramham Park.

Despite only having had new ride Chilli Morning for a matter of weeks - and being held on the cross-country course after his Great Britain colleague Nicola Wilson fell from Inde - he went clear exactly on the optimum time of 10 minutes 31 seconds.

That left the combination on their CCI dressage score of 39.2 penalties going into Sunday's showjumping finale, where Fox-Pitt can afford to have one fence down and still win.

French challenger Sylvain Davesne is second on Oregon Du Coty, with Australia's Sam Griffiths holding third and fourth places with Paulank Brockagh and Happy Times respectively.

But Fox-Pitt was not finished there, as he jumped showjumping clear rounds on both his CIC contenders - Neuf des Coeurs and Lionheart - to move into first and sixth places respectively.

New Zealander Andrew Nicholson and Nereo moved up to second, while 2006 world champion Zara Phillips and High Kingdom lay third after jumping one of only 14 clears from 91 starters. Early leader Laura Collett had two fences down on Rayef and was ninth.

Phillips performed superbly under pressure for an overnight score of 43.2 penalties, 4.5 behind Fox-Pitt and just 1.2 adrift of Nicholson.

It was a disappointing day for Tina Cook on her 2008 double Olympic bronze medal-winning Miners Frolic, as three fences down dropped them to 22nd, and Sarah Cohen, who has been in impressive form with Treason this season, withdrew after Friday's dressage phase.