Mark Todd has withdrawn NZB Gandalf from the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials (7-10 May) because the horse has had a problem with his neck.

“He put his neck out about three or four weeks ago — it’s just one of those mystery things,” said Mark. “He’s actually better now, but he’s missed too much work.

“In a funny way I was actually ‘umming and ahhing’ about whether it was the right thing to do [to take Gandalf to Badminton] because he had such a busy year last year and now it’s been decided for me.”

Mark will now aim Gandalf at the World Cup qualifier at Tattersalls (28-31 May), Ireland, and then the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (3-6 September).

Mark’s withdrawal will be a disappointment for many spectators who were looking forward to seeing New Zealand’s comeback rider compete at the event for the first time since 2000.

Don’t miss H&H’s full Badminton preview, out next Thursday (30 April).