Two past Badminton-winning combinations top the entries for the 2017 event.
Reigning champions Michael Jung and La Biosthetique-Sam FBW (pictured, top) and 2014 winners Sam Griffiths and Paulank Brockagh head the list for the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials (3-7 May).
All the British 2016 Olympic riders — with the notable exception of William Fox-Pitt — are aiming for the Gloucestershire four-star. Kitty King has her Rio-ride Ceylor LAN in contention, while Pippa Funnell is entered with Billy Beware and Gemma Tattersall with Arctic Soul.
Tina Cook has her three long-listed Rio rides entered (Calvino II, Billy The Red and Star Witness), while Oliver Townend also has a trio on the list (MHS King Joules, Samuel Thomas II and ODT Ghareeb). Riders can compete a maximum of two horses, but having three entered means they can choose at a later date which to run.
Laura Collett has two entered (Grand Manoeuvre and Pamero 4), with Nicola Wilson (Annie Clover), Izzy Taylor (Briarlands Matilda), Beanie Sturgis (Lebowski) and Sarah Bullimore (Reve Du Rouet) among the other Brits on the list. Zara Tindall and High Kingdom are 35th on the wait list.
Two of France’s Olympic team gold medal-winning combinations — Astier Nicolas (Piaf De B’Neville) and Thibaut Vallette (Qing Du Briot) — have made the cut.
Among the Irish entries are Camilla Speirs and her experienced campaigner Portersize Just A Jiff. This will be the sixth CCI4* for the pint-sized 17-year-old gelding, who took Camilla to London 2012.
Jonty Evans and Clare Abbott are both entered on their respective Rio rides, Cooley Rorkes Drift and Euro Prince.
A strong Kiwi contingent is aiming for glory, with two entries for Mark Todd (Leonidas II and NZB Campino), Andrew Nicholson (Qwanza and Nereo), Caroline Powell (Onwards And Upwards) and Tim Price (Bango, Ringwood Sky Boy and waitlisted Xavier Faer) among their contenders. However Jonelle Price — who finished 10th here last year — is not entered.
Meanwhile, Germany’s challenge is not limited to Michael Jung — Ingrid Klimke (Horseware Hale Bob OLD), Bettina Hoy (Designer), Andreas Dibowski (FRH Butts Avedon) and Claas Romeike (Cato 60) are also on the list.
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How does it compare?
Entries are up slightly on last year, with 87 accepted entries and 36 on the waitlist taking the total to 123. This compares to 118 in 2016, 104 in 2015 and 141 in 2014.
Of these entries, a maximum of 85 will run.
Horses are accepted into Badminton on the basis of which have won the most FEI points at three- and four-star level in the past two years, so the horses with most points are accepted and then the others are wait listed in points order.
Over the past nine years between 15 and 43 horses have been accepted from the wait list, so it combinations on it still have a good chance of making the start list.
In 12th on the waitlist and hoping for her first Badminton run is Lissa Green with Malin Head Clover.
Canadian Olympian Kathryn Robinson is at 16 with Let It Bee, while the popular combination of Ben Hobday and Mulrys Error are at 29.
Zara Tindall is at 35, just ahead of Badminton first-timer and H&H blogger Kirsty Short on her own Cossan Lad.
Don’t miss H&H’s exclusive Badminton cross-country course walk with William Fox-Pitt in the 27th April issue