Fox-Pitt in pole position

14 June 2012 / 16:26

William Fox-Pitt could move within touching distance of securing another major equestrian eventing title this weekend.

The British and world number one eventer is not among the four-star field in Luhmuhlen, Germany, which begins with Friday's dressage phase. But his lead in the overall HSBC FEI Classics standings is such that all the pressure remains on his rivals.

Fox-Pitt has won the last three four-star competitions he has competed in - Burghley, Pau and Kentucky - and he holds a 14-point advantage over closest challenger Andrew Nicholson.

Wiltshire-based New Zealander Nicholson will be in action when the Luhmuhlen dressage starts, but Fox-Pitt's lead is a commanding one with just one event remaining after Luhmuhlen.

The Classics, which carries a first prize of of just under £100,000, rewards the most consistent rider across world eventing's annual four-star events.

Fox-Pitt, who will spearhead Great Britain's medal bid at the London Olympics next month, is a previous Classics winner, as is Britain's Oliver Townend, who will contest Luhmuhlen with Armada and ODT Sonas Rovatio.

Although the five-strong British team for London has been picked - Fox-Pitt, Mary King, Zara Phillips, Piggy French and Tina Cook - several other countries have yet to announce their line-ups.

These include New Zealand, Australia and Germany, nations all out in force at Luhmuhlen, especially the host country, whose challengers feature reigning world and European champion Michael Jung, Ingrid Klimke, Andreas Dibowski and Sandra Auffarth.

Luhmuhlen's supporting three-star class began on Thursday, meanwhile, with the dressage phase, and Jung once again showed his class.

He produced a superb test on River of Joy, recording just 27.8 penalties to lead the field from his fellow German Frank Ostholt (Little Paint), with Sweden's Sara Algotsson-Ostholt third and Jung fourth on his other ride Halunke FBW.