Australian eventing rider Chris Burton in action at the World Equestrian Festival in Germany last month.
Australian eventing rider Chris Burton in action at the World Equestrian Festival in Germany last month. JOCHEN LUEBKE

Burton eyes Games medal

CHRIS Burton might be the rookie of the Australian Olympic eventing team but the Darling Downs product has shown he has the form to challenge for a medal in London.

Burton, 30, has had an impressive run of wins on the European eventing circuit in the lead-up to the Games.

He outclassed a strong field to become the first Aussie to win the CIC3* at the World Equestrian Festival in Germany last month, following a first and second-place finish at the Saumur CCI3* event in France.

And Burton told Equestrian Australia he's hoping his winning streak continues into the Olympics.

"This purple patch I've had at the moment has been quite amazing," he said.

"While I hope I haven't used up all my luck, it's given me a huge amount of confidence going into London."

For most sports, making your Olympic debut at the age of 30 would be unheard of and Burton admitted his dream had been a long time in the making.

"We train and work so hard for this and when your dream finally comes true, it feels a little bit surreal," he said.

"Visiting the Olympic Village, getting my uniform, that's when it really hit home for me.

"I have to be careful to stay focused and not get over-excited by it all."

Burton has been training with the eventing team in the English countryside in Gloucestershire and said he had used the time to learn from Australia's most experienced athlete, seven-time Olympian Andrew Hoy.

"I've loved talking to Andrew and getting closer to him, because as a child he was always a rider I admired," Burton said.

"I've been talking to him about some of the Olympics and history he's been through.

"It's exciting to have someone of his calibre on our team. We feel that little bit of confidence knowing he's got so much team experience and that's a big advantage."

The first day of eventing competition starts on Saturday.


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