Fox-Pitt predicts a scrap for eventing crown
GREAT Britain equestrian hope William Fox-Pitt believes there will be several contenders to be crowned Olympic eventing champions at this year’s Games.
Current form suggests that Germany, coached by Yorkshireman Chris Bartle, will take some stopping, having ended Britain’s long run of European team success by taking gold on home soil in Luhmuhlen last summer.
Bartle also led German to clean sweep of individual medalists in winner Michael Jung, runner-up Sandra Auffarth and third-placed Frank Ostholt. Jung is the first rider since Zara Phillips in 2006 to hold world and European individual titles at the same time.
Fox-Pitt, and company face a considerable task to land Britain’s first Olympic team gold since 1972 and feels the competition for medals will be fierce.
“The Germans are the biggest threat, without a doubt,” Fox-Pitt said.
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“But the New Zealanders have come back to the mark and also the French, who suddenly appeared with team silver at Luhmuhlen last year after being off the cards for a long time.
“It is going to be quite a scrap for the medals, but it is just not going to be a case of ‘what about the Germans?’
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“It’s like anything, all the Germans need is for one person to fall off, and that changes everything.
“We’ve got to remember, also, that Greenwich will be a very different competition to Luhmuhlen - nearly a different sport.
“We’ve got to have five horses there that I think can do really well, and will also be Greenwich-friendly, and I don’t think that is so easy. Greenwich is going to be so specific.”
Fox-Pitt and current world number one Mary King are set to spearhead Britain’s Olympic challenge, and although the five-strong team is a few months away from being announced.