Nicolas Touzaint (pictured) became the first French rider to win the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials this afternoon.
The reigning European champion went into the ring with a fence in hand, which he used up when he had a long stride to the double at number seven and Hildago De L’Ile could not clear the second part. But Nicolas coaxed the 13-year-old bay gelding over the remaining fences to take the title.
“Badminton was always a dream for me and even today I couldn’t imagine I could win it — that’s always been for others,” said Nicolas, who attributed the improvement in Hildago De L’Ile’s show jumping since his expensive round at Fontainebleau to changing his bit from a double bridle to a pelham.
Lucy Wiegersma was best British rider, holding onto second spot with Shaabrak. She rode the round of her life, just lowering the second fence to finish only 0.4 of a penalty behind Nicolas.
Lucy thanks her three-pronged team in the show jumping collecting ring, Peter Murphy, Yogi Breisner and Caroline Creighton, who has trained her since she was eight. She also said her father Hendrik had had lots of advice for her.
“The last thing he said before I went into the ring was, ‘Remember you’re a Cornish bird and ride like a Cornish show jumper’,” laughed Lucy.
William Fox-Pitt’s rollercoaster weekend ended on a good note when he moved up to third with one fence down on Ballincoola.
Polly Stockton was the one of the big losers of the final phase shake-up when Tom Quigley lowered three fences and had a time-penalty to drop from overnight third to sixth.
New Zealand’s Caroline Powell (Lenamore) and Britain’s Sharon Hunt (Tankers Town) jumped the only clear rounds of the afternoon session — Mary King managed one this morning with Imperial Cavalier — to move up to fourth and fifth.
1. Hildago De L’Ile (Nicolas Touzaint, FRA) 48.4
2. Shaabrak (Lucy Wiegersma, GBR) 49.8
3. Ballincoola (William Fox-Pitt, GBR) 52.1
4. Lenamore (Caroline Powell, GBR) 52.8
5. Tankers Town (Sharon Hunt, GBR) 54.9
6. Tom Quigley (Polly Stockton, GBR) 59.7
Don’t forget to buy H&H next Thursday (8 May) for a 16 page report, stunning colour photography and comments from Carl Hester, Ginny Elliot and William Fox-Pitt.