Mark Todd wins Badminton Horse Trials 2011

nzb_landvision_SJ_09.jpg

Eventing legend Mark Todd claimed his fourth Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials title in the Gloucestershire sunshine today.

New Zealand’s double Olympic champion coaxed a beautiful clear round out of the relatively inexperienced 10-year-old NZB Land Vision to retain his overnight lead to the delight of the Badminton crowds.

“Although NZB Land Vision finished the cross-country tired yesterday, within 15mins he was towing his girl back to the stables and was full of bounce at the trot-up this morning,” said Mark.

“I truly think he is one of the best horses I’ve ever had.”

Piggy French and Jakata moved up from fifth overnight to second with a stylish clear round after the riders ahead of her all had a fence down to drop down the leaderboard.

“I was kicking myself last night [after picking up 9.2 time faults on the cross-country] as I thought I might have thrown away my best chance to finish in the top three,” said Piggy. “But I went in to today thinking ‘what will be,will be’ and was very focused and determined to make it happen.”

A clear from Imperial Cavalier saw Mary King move up from seventh after cross-country to third.

Mary told the packed post-event press conference: “I’m delighted that Piggy finished ahead of me as I know she was one of my greatest fans when she was growing up and used to write to me often. Perhaps now I’ll be writing to her!”

With the leaderboard tightly packed after yesterday’s cross-country, there was real pressure on riders to go clear to retain their overnight positions. The time did not appear particularly influential, but the oxer coming out of the double at 11 and the final fence, an oxer over a watertray, caught a number of riders out.

Germany’s Marina Kohncke and Calma Shelly, second after cross-country, was one of the high profile casualties of the final fence and dropped to 9th. She was one of a handful of riders to pick up time faults.

After producing the best dressage performance of his career, and his customary excellence across country, a rather excited Opposition Buzz did not give Nicola Wilson the easiest of rides in the showjumping and dropped from third overnight to seventh with one down.

Top 10 leaderboard

1. NZB Land Vision (Mark Todd) NZL 43.6
2. Jakata (Piggy French) 45.2
3. Imperial Cavalier (Mary King) 45.8
4. Happy Times (Sam Griffiths) AUS 46.3
5. Mister Pooh (Niklas Lindback) SWE 46.7
6. Lenamore (Caroline Powell) NZL 47.2
7. Opposition Buzz (Nicola Wilson) 48.0
8. Rayef (Laura Collett) 49.3
9. Calma Schelly (Marina Kohncke) GER 49.8
10. Avebury (Andrew Nicholson) NZL 51.2

Don’t miss H&H’s full 15-page report from Badminton, including expert analysis from Carl Hester and Cpt Mark Phillips, on sale Thursday 28 April

Pictures of Mark Todd on the way to victory