Duffort, 36, posted a score of 35.9 with Toronto d’Aurois in Friday’s dressage after a strong start up to the flying change.
It could have been more for the French Rider if he kept his cool in the latter stages, but Duffort was full of praise for his 16-year-old gelding.
“I got excited,” he said. “I was trotting, I looked up at the scores and then I probably got more excited than he was, that’s what he does.
“I’m happy, we tried to keep a lid on it. He went a bit wild at the end but normally he scores 38,39 so I’m pretty happy.
“He’s 16, he’s been doing this for a long time now. I keep trying and he’s getting better and will probably be 20 by the time I can do a decent test but I’m really happy with him.
“I can’t tell you, you’re a little kid and you get here and all you want to do is come back.
“People don’t realise how hard it is to get a horse to do this, we’ve got so many horses in the yard and it’s the same for everybody.
“They’re very special horses to be able to go round here and I think we need to be able to give credit to them.
Duffort made his Burghley debut in 2016 with Herbst Golden Eclipse but posted his best-ever Burghley finish of 15th last year with Toronto D’Aurois.
And the Frenchman hopes the famed Burghley course will serve him well once again in the cross-country on Saturday.
“I am very excited about it,” he added. “I’m going to say something that people won’t like but tomorrow is going to be such a different day, 35 or 30 is probably not going to make a massive difference.
“I love it here, we know it’s big, it’s bold, there’s nothing to catch them. They’re not trying to trick the rider or the horse which sometimes they do but they don’t do that here and I like it.
Defender Burghley Horse Trials (31st August – 3 September 2023) has been a major international sporting and social event for over 50 years. It attracts the world’s top equestrians and over 170,000 visitors. For more information visit www.burghley-horse.co.uk