Fox-Pitt top of the world - King

29 August 2012 / 15:29

Mary King has paid her fellow London Olympian William Fox-Pitt a glowing tribute as he prepares for his latest title assault at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials.

Both riders - British team silver medallists at Greenwich Park four weeks ago - will be among a star-studded international field chasing the £55,000 top prize.

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 he returns to Lincolnshire 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 told Press Association Sport.

"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 Britain's Olympic silver medal-winning eventing team at Greenwich Park last month that will take on the four-day Burghley challenge, starting with Saturday's opening dressage tests.

King rides her Olympics reserve horse Kings Temptress, third at Burghley last year, while Fox-Pitt doubles up aboard Parklane Hawk and Seacookie. And for 51-year-old King, the road to Rio and the 2016 Olympics - it would be her seventh successive Games - starts now.

"I am thinking about Rio already," she added. "I get so much enjoyment from this sport, and I am very fortunate to be doing something I love doing. I love working with horses and competing at the top level, and that burning desire to try to win big events is still very much there."