WILTSHIRE-based eventer and seven-time Olympian Sir Mark Todd might have made his debut at the prestigious Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials nearly four decades ago, but the New Zealand stalwart is hungrier than ever to claim a record-equalling sixth title.

A pioneer in the eventing world with six Olympic medals to this name, Todd is no stranger to success and at the ripe age of 61, he still has an appetite to achieve more at his favourite grand slam event.

Having last tasted victory at the four-star competition in 1999 with Diamond Hall Red, a sixth triumph would put Todd on the same page as Britain’s William Fox-Pitt, Burghley’s most successful competitor.

And following his appointment as a Land Rover ambassador earlier this year the New Zealander insists his approach to the competition will be the same as ever.

“Being an ambassador doesn’t change anything at all, but it would be very appropriate for me if I did win it,” said the Badgerstown-based Todd.

“They’re very understanding with time commitments, so I will fulfil what I can.

“It’s just a really nice association but at the end of the day, it doesn’t make any difference to the result. We’ve still got to get out there and perform really well.”

This year will see the New Zealander compete with his established four-star gelding Leonidas II. The pair’s exploits are well documented – the duo have achieved top ten finishes at the last three Badminton Horse Trials as well as an individual seventh place at the Rio Olympics last summer.

“He’s been round a few times now. He’s a very good horse and he’s on good form, so I’m hopeful he’ll go well,” said Todd. “I’d obviously love to win another one. It takes a certain type of horse to do well at Burghley.

“It’s been a while and this horse is certainly capable of doing it, so we’ll be doing our best.”

This will be Todd’s seventh occasion competing at Burghley since his return to the sport nine years ago, having initially announced his retirement after the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

“My age doesn’t bother me. It is what it is. It’s quite funny – I’m competing against the children of my contemporaries,” said Todd.

“It can be quite amusing sometimes, but we’re lucky in this sport. It’s not just about youth - experience counts a lot and I’m lucky so far that my body has held up, my nerve has held up and I still really enjoy it.

“As long as I have nice horses to ride and as long as I can still be competitive, I’ll keep going.”

While he has plenty of time to decide when to finally hang up his reigns, the equestrian legend will, for now, enjoy savouring the enchanted setting of his beloved Burghley.

“The course obviously changes all the time, but you still have the undulations at Burghley which make it the special event that it is,” said Todd.

“Its charms have remained the same. It’s always one that I love to go to. They’ve always been very friendly up there and have always made the riders feel very welcome.”