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William Fox-Pitt back in world eventing’s top spot

William Fox-Pitt and Lionheart at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

William Fox-Pitt and Lionheart at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. © Jacques Toffi/Arnd Bronkhorst/FEI

William Fox-Pitt has returned to eventing’s top spot with a 16-point lead in the FEI World Eventing Rankings.

The British rider takes the title from Andrew Nicholson, who had held the title since claiming team bronze at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Fox-Pitt, 44, represented Great Britain throughout his teenage years, winning individual silver at the Junior European Championships in 1987, Young Rider team gold at the European Championships in 1988 and 1989, and completed Badminton at the age of 20. His first Burghley win five years later established him as a regular on the senior British team and guaranteed him a ticket to the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games.

He has gone on to represent Great Britain consistently over the past 15 years, winning team silver at the London 2012 and Athens 2004 Olympic Games, and team bronze at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

He also secured team gold and individual silver at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2010 in Kentucky (USA), team silver at the FEI World Equestrian Games 2006 in Aachen (GER) and team bronze at the 2002 edition of the Games in Jerez (ESP), as well as six European team gold medals, one team bronze, two individual silvers and individual bronze.

He has won a total of 52 CCIs (international three-day events), including a record 13 CCI4*s, which are the world’s top six international events. He is the only rider to have won five of these top events, including Badminton (2004) and Burghley, which he has won six times in 1994, 2002, 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2011 when he became the first rider to win a record six Burghley titles on six different horses. He has also won at Luhmühlen (2008), at Pau twice (2011 and 2013), and has just returned from Kentucky with his third victory (after winning in 2010 and 2012).

Next weekend, with his highly successful horses Cool Mountain, Parklane Hawk and Chilli Morning, he heads to Badminton, which is also the fourth leg of the FEI Classics™, a prestigious series uniting the world’s top six CCI4*s, which he also currently leads.

“It’s a fantastic feeling to be back as world number one,” said Fox-Pitt.

“The world rankings are currently dominated by British riders, and it’ll be interesting to see if the British leaders of the world show jumping and dressage rankings, Scott Brash and Charlotte Dujardin, have retained their lead. This shows that our National Lottery funding and World Class Performance Programme is working, which is great news for all British athletes, and especially for equestrian athletes as we head into our world championships in Normandy his summer.”

Horsetalk.co.nz

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