William Fox-Pitt and Andrew Nicholson head up the entry list for the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials.
William currently has 4 horses entered, although he can only start on 2. His possible rides are European individual bronze medallist Chilli Morning, Burghley and Kentucky winner Parklane Hawk (pictured), world individual silver medallist Cool Mountain and Bay My Hero. The latter is also entered for Rolex Kentucky, alongside Seacookie TSF, who is not entered for Badminton.
New Zealand’s Andrew Nicholson has last year’s Kentucky winner Quimbo, 2012 Burghley winner Avebury and triple championship bronze medallist Nereo in the mix. Quimbo and Avebury are also on the Kentucky entry list.
Other strong contenders for Britain include Pippa Funnell (Billy Beware and Redesigned), Mary King (Imperial Cavalier), Tina Cook (De Novo News) and Sarah Cohen (Treason).
8 riders who have previously lifted the trophy come forward again. These include Lucinda Fredericks (Flying Finish) and H&H columnist Mark Todd (Oloa, NZB Campino and Leonidas II).
Among other 4-star winners are Christopher Burton and TS Jamaimo — Christopher won Adelaide last year on the horse as a catch ride, but a syndicate has since bought TS Jamaimo for the Australian to campaign for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG).
Notable absentees include Germany’s strongest riders, with Olympic gold medallists Michael Jung (2nd last year) and Sandra Auffarth (4th last year) choosing to prepare for WEG nearer home. Kai-Steffen Meier is the only German entered, with TSF Karascada M.
For the home side, .Zara Phillips — soon to return to competition following the birth of her first child — is not entered. She is likely to make her WEG bid with High Kingdom at Luhmühlen, an event where she has a good record and which gives her a little more time to prepare.
The British first-timers on the list of accepted entries are Jodie Amos (Matt, entered last year but withdrawn), Dani Evans (Raphael II), Sophie Jenman (Geronimo, wait listed last year), Paul Sims (Glengarnock and Calador).
How many will get in from the wait list?
A total of 131 horses from 11 nationalities were entered for Badminton this year, slightly fewer than the 141 who were originally in the mix last year.
38 horses are on the wait list. 93 horses have been accepted, but a maximum of 85 will start — the extras take into account that 5 riders have more than 2 horses accepted, but they can only start on 2.
Horses are accepted into Badminton on the basis of which have won the most FEI points at 3- and 4-star level in the past 2 years, so the horses with most points are accepted and then the others are wait listed in points order.
Since this system was brought in in 2008, between 15 (in 2013) and 43 horses (in 2009) have been accepted from the wait list into the competition.
This means Harry Dzenis (Xam, 7th on wait list) and Mary Edmundson (Sonny Early, 15th on wait list) stand a good chance of making their Badminton debuts. But old favourites Twinkle Bee (Anna Warnecke), Barry’s Best (Rosie Thomas) and Coolgrange Merger (Tony Warr), who languish in 29th, 31st and 32nd, are less likely to get in.
The wait listed entries will replace horses which are withdrawn up until 2pm on Sunday, 4 May.