This year’s Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials (1-4May) looks set to be a classic with the world’s best event riders gathering to do battle for the prestigious Mitsubishi Trophy.

This year’s entries are headed by Britain’s defending champion Pippa Funnell (Cornerman/Jurassic Rising/Primmore’s Pride/Supreme Rock) (pictured) and last year’s world number one William Fox-Pitt (Highland Lad/Moon Man/Tamarillo).

The entries also include previous winners Mary King (King Solomon III/Ryan V) and Rodney Powell (Major Sweep/Weebolla), plus Bruce Davidson (Apparition), who heads America’s five-strong challenge.

New Zealand’s Blyth Tait (Eze/Ready Teddy) will be aiming to go one better than on the three previous occasions when he has been the bridesmaid, adding the Badminton title to his impressive record of World Champion, Olympic gold and Burghley Horse Trials triumphs.

Australia has three Olympic gold medalists in the frame – Matt Ryan (Balmoral Mr Slinky), Andrew Hoy (Moon Fleet/Mr Pracatan) and Phillip Dutton(Caymen Went/Hannigan) – while former Burghley winners include Blyth Tait’s fellow countryman Andrew Nicholson (Fenicio/Mallard’s Treat/Mr Smiffy/Sheff’s Choice).

Other top international riders include US team stalwart Karen O’Connor (Regal Scot), former European Champions Bettina Hoy (Germany) and Jean Lou Bigot (France), Enrique Sarasola from Spain and Piia Pantsu, World Individual bronze medallist from Finland.

Other top British partnerships include Tina Cook, Polly Stockton and World Silver Medallist Jeanette Brakewell.

Event director Hugh Thomas says: “I don’t think that I can remember such a high class entry and this will make the 2003 trials one of the most hotly contested Badmintons of recent years.”

Click here for the complete list of entries.

For more information about the 2003 Badminton Horse Trials visit www.badminton-horse.co.uk