William Fox-Pitt: 'great honour and a privilege to be selected for Team GB'
HONOURED William Fox-Pitt tipped “phenomenal horse” Lionheart for London 2012 perfection after the duo were selected to represent Team GB at this summer’s Games.
Dorset’s world number one will ride Lionheart in his fourth Olympic appearance following the pairing’s confirmation as one of five combinations to lead the nation’s charge.
Fox-Pitt was joined in the team by the Queen’s granddaughter Zara Phillips, who grabbed the headlines after winning the race for the fifth spot alongside expected picks Kristina Cook, Piggy French and Mary King.
Sturminster Newton-based star Fox-Pitt had been widely tipped to spearhead Britain’s medal quest in the capital after producing a series of exceptional displays this season.
And speaking after getting the Team GB call-up, the 43-year-old backed Lionheart to perform on the biggest stage in the world.
Fox-Pitt said: “It’s a great honour and a privilege to be selected for the British team.
“It’s particularly exciting as it is London and I can’t wait for the Games to get started.
“It’s very exciting to be part of such a strong team and I’m particularly delighted for my long-time owners Judy and Jeremy Skinner.
“Lionheart is a phenomenal horse and an incredible athlete with a great temperament.
“He will be able to cope with Greenwich perfectly. I’m really looking forward to riding there.
“He’s only a 10-year-old but very generous and talented. In my opinion, he’s made for Greenwich.”
Fox-Pitt, Cook and King were all members of the bronze medal-winning squad at the 2008 Games.
The same trio were then part of the team that claimed gold at the 2010 World Championships, where Fox-Pitt collected an individual silver medal.
Writing on his website, Fox-Pitt added: “It’s fantastic to now know the squad as the Olympics are only six weeks away – a scary thought.
“It’s also a real boost to be a part of such a strong team, made up of Mary King, Piggy French, Tina Cook and Zara Phillips.
However, I was very sad for Nicola Wilson, who is named as a reserve, as she has been an amazing teammate over the past three years.
“We have team training on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to look forward to when things will really begin to kick off.”
King, Fox-Pitt and Cook already have plenty of Olympic experience and although Phillips and French will make their Games debuts, they are no strangers to international honours.
French won the Olympic Test event in Greenwich in 2011 and Phillips was crowned individual world champion in 2006 before missing out on Beijing 2008 when her horse Toytown suffered an injury.