Fox-Pitt shines in Kentucky
British star William Fox-Pitt made a strong start to the latest stage of his bid for eventing's richest prize.
The Dorset-based world number one is pursuing the Rolex Grand Slam, which offers just under £220,000 for any rider that completes consecutive Burghley, Kentucky and Badminton victories in any order.
Fox-Pitt won a record sixth Burghley crown with Parklane Hawk last September, and the combination reproduced that form on day two at Rolex Kentucky.
Their 41.3 dressage score put them clear of overnight leaders Boyd Martin and Remington XXV as a 57-strong field jostled for position prior to the cross-country test.
"It's great to be riding him here," said Fox-Pitt, who was second midway through today's action behind the American partnership of Allison Springer and Arthur.
"I just want to show that he can consolidate his form from Burghley. That was his first four-star, so it was a big question for him.
"I would just like him to have a very good experience here, and do as well as he can.
"The most important thing is that he goes well and comes out of it well.
"He is one of my horses possibly lined up for the Olympic Games in the summer, so I just want him to have a good experience and get some more miles, and what better place to do it."
The Grand Slam has been achieved on just one previous occasion, by Britain's Pippa Funnell in 2003, but a strong performance around Derek di Grazia's course tomorrow would give Fox-Pitt every chance of landing his second Rolex Kentucky title in three years.
The 43-year-old triumphed aboard Cool Mountain in 2010, and then returned to Kentucky Horse Park with the same horse five months later, where he won World Equestrian Games team gold and individual silver.
This year's Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials begin next Friday, when Fox-Pitt looks set to ride Neuf des Couers and Seacookie.
Fox-Pitt was not the only British rider to make his presence felt in the season's first four-star competition.
Lucy Wiegersma underlined her rich vein of early-season form by moving fourth with Granntevka Prince on 47.5, while Oliver Townend and Pepper Anne stood equal seventh after scoring 48.8.
Both Wiegersma and Townend are contenders to make the five-strong Great Britain eventing team for London 2012, although only one place realistically appears available given the presence of Fox-Pitt, Mary King, Piggy French and Nicola Wilson.