Andrew Nicholson — who has been confirmed as being the live contender in the Rolex Grand Slam following Jock Paget’s elimination from last year’s Land Rover Burghley — will be the final competitor to start at this year’s Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials.
Andrew starts at number 124 on triple bronze medallist Nereo, as well as at number 16 with last year’s Rolex Kentucky winner, Quimbo.
If he wins Rolex Kentucky this week on Avebury, Andrew will go into Badminton poised to collect the $350,000 (£208,600) bonus given by Rolex to any rider who can win Burghley, Kentucky and Badminton consecutively. This would add an extra spice to the competition and his late draw will ensure an exciting event to the end.
Andrew has never won Badminton, although he holds the record for most completions at the event, 33.
Izzy Taylor will be the pathfinder. She starts first on either Briarlands Matilda or Thistledown Poposki, depending which of the 3 horses she still has entered she decides to run. Izzy then runs either Thistledown Poposki or Dax Van Ternieuwbeke as her 2nd horse.
Australia’s Christopher Burton will be 2nd into the arena — and out of the cross-country start box — if Tempranillo is accepted from 20th on the wait list.
If not, the next starter will be Sarah Bullimore, riding My Last One. Although Sarah officially still has Reve Du Rouet in the draw, the horse will start at Rolex Kentucky tomorrow. She also rides Valentino V at the end of the competition at Badminton.
H&H blogger Sophie Jenman, a Badminton debutant, is number 48. This is likely to mean she will do dressage towards the end of Thursday, depending on the final make up of the start list once the wait list has closed.
So far, horses down to 8th on the wait list have been accepted. New Zealand’s successful amateur rider Megan Heath and St Daniel are the latest combination to get the call up, following the withdrawal of Andrew Hoy’s London 2012 horse Rutherglen. Horses continue to be accepted from the wait list until 2pm on Sunday, 4 May.
Don’t miss H&H’s Badminton preview issues, out 1 and 8 May.