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Saturday, September 03, 2011  •  12:59 BST

Andrew Nicholson riding AVEBURY (NZL)

Andrew Nicholson riding AVEBURY (NZL)

FOX-PITT FLIES INTO THE LEAD

After his cross-country round five times Burghley winner William Fox-Pitt with Parklane Hawk (no 14) has taken the lead at The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials. The pair can now only be beaten by the dressage leaders, the German combination of Simone Deitermann and Free Easy NRW (no 89). However the margin is so slighht that they cannot be more than one second over the time in order to keep the lead they gained in the dressage.

“My goodness that horse can gallop,” said William of his former racehorse. “Halfway round we were down on the clock but we clawed it back. It was massive all the way but then you don’t expect a holiday at Burghley.”

After the first 20 riders three have been inside the time; as well as William Fox-Pitt, New Zealander Andrew Nicholson with his first ride Avebury came home clear two seconds inside the time and Francis Whittington with his first ride Sir Percival came home within the optimum time of 11min 40sec.

British Burghley first-timer Joy Dawes from Buckingham was one who was delighted to complete with Finnisterre, coming home clear and adding just 8.0 time penalties to their score. “That was absolutely fantastic” said Joy. “There were so many difficult fences I wasn’t sure whether he would come up with the goods and that I would ride it right – but I am really delighted with him.”

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