First advanced event of the season saw top Badminton-bound combinations in action

The first advanced event of the season took place last week, providing a run for almost the entire British-based Badminton entry.

Two of the four advanced sections went to the Hoy team – Bettina, winning on her Badminton entrant Unsung Hero, and her husband Andrew, who rode his 16-year-old Darien Powers.

Andrew, the only rider inside the optimum time, had the fastest round of the day. One owner questioned this achievement because he had been held on the course for about half an hour, which can disrupt timing. However, the organisers double-checked the sheets and the result stood.

The hold-up was caused by a nasty fall for Kathryn Harris, who plans to make her Badminton debut on Keeper of the Castle. Her other horse, the inappropriately named I’m No Trouble, caught a leg going into fence 16 and tipped her off. She was unconscious for five minutes and went to hospital to have her face stitched. Kathryn will now be stood down from competing for a while, which will hamper her Badminton plans.

The other two section winners were Lucinda Fredericks, also planning her first Badminton for a while, on Darassus, riding Bally Leck Boy, and Chris Hunnable on Red Quest.

The course, which Mark Phillips described as “straightforward”, caused a surprising amount of trouble. Almost a third of the field faulted, with the majority of problems at the second water complex. Pippa Funnell, Chris Bartle and Jeanette Brakewell were among the riders to have stops ontheir Badminton horses.

A number of younger riders had trouble-free rides, among them Harry Meade (son of Richard) and Zara Phillips, who were contesting their first advanced event.

The whole day was considered a huge success and riders were grateful to Alec Lochore and his fiancee Emily Thompson and their families who had worked so hard to build a new advanced course at short notice, thus atoning for the shortage of pre-Badminton advanced events this spring.

  • Last week also saw the first CIC** of the domestic season, at Somerley Park. This was won by Bumble Thomas riding High Robins. Matt Ryan was second on Bonza Katoomba and Andrew Nicholson won the OI class on his Boekelo winner Sheff’s Choice, who is double entered for Badminton with New York.

    For full results of these events, plus important notices, visit www.britisheventing.com or the May issue of Eventing magazine, which is out on April 12 with a full Badminton preview.

    Kiwis head for Badminton

    Two more New Zealand riders have arrived to contest their first Badminton. Bryce Newman has decided against entering because his top horse Dunstan Inishturk does not seem to have travelled all that well. Meanwhile, Matthew Grayling, winner of the Adelaide four-star CCI last November, and Heelan Tompkins, eighth at Kentucky last year, have arrived and are based at Blarney organiser Georgina Colthurst’s Lambourn yard. (To read profiles of these two riders, look at Eventing magazine next week).

  • For tickets to Badminton, log on to: www.badminton-horse.co.uk