World number one Fox-Pitt lines up 220,000 showjumping bonus

World number one Fox-Pitt lines up 220,000 showjumping bonus

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UPDATED:

22:31 GMT, 28 April 2012

Britain's William Fox- Pitt, the world No 1 eventer, is on course to win his second Rolex Kentucky title in three years — and put himself in line for a 220,000 payday.

Fox-Pitt produced a brilliant cross-country round on his 2011 Burghley champion, Parklane Hawk, in Lexington yesterday to overhaul the leader from the dressage stage, American Alison Springer.

Fox-Pitt riding Parklane Hawk during the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event

Simply the best: Fox-Pitt riding Parklane Hawk during the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event

If the 43-year-old Briton can add the Kentucky prize to Burghley and go on to triumph at Badminton next week, he will complete eventing’s coveted Rolex Grand Slam — and pick up the massive bonus.

Only Britain’s Pippa Funnell, in 2003, has won eventing’s three biggest events in succession — they do not have to be won in the same calendar year — to qualify for the prize.

But Fox-Pitt insisted there is a long way to go before he can even think of celebrating. ‘It’s very exciting but we’ve got a lot more to do,’ he said.

‘I’m not thinking about the Grand Slam. Hopefully, if I put in my best performance here then I might be another stage closer, but there is a long way to go.’

Fox-Pitt, who will win the event if he jumps clear in today’s showjumping finale, won bronze and silver team event medals at the Beijing and Athens Olympics and is a leading contender for Team GB in London this summer.

Britain’s Olympic dressage contender, Laura Bechtolsheimer, went close to a British record as she and Mistral Hojris qualified easily for today’s Hagen Grand Prix freestyle final in Germany.

The Gloucestershire based world No 3 finished second behind the brilliant Totilas, ridden by Germany’s Matthias Rath. Britain has never won an Olympic dressage medal, but Bechtolsheimer’s earlyseason form has raised hopes of a breakthrough.