In a final showjumping phase which saw no one jump clear inside the time, Paulank Brockagh jumped one of the most stylish rounds of the day with just the fence going into the double (8a) hitting the floor.
One by one each of the riders ahead of Sam dropped by the wayside, leaving the UK-based Aussie to claim his first 4-star win courtesy of the 11-year-old Irish-bred mare by Touchdown. Sam’s best previous result at Badminton was 3rd with Happy Times in 2009.
“I never would have believed it. It’s always been my ultimate dream to win Badminton.” said Sam. “She tried her heart out for me in there and really helped me out.”
Oliver Townend finished 2nd with 15-year-old Armada, who has now completed a remarkable 12 4-star events during his career. They had 2 fences down in the final phase, but rose up from =34th after dressage with an excellent cross-country performance.
A delighted Oliver said: “I think the showjumping [result] reflected what we all did yesterday. While it’s not great not to have any SJ clears, I don’t think it was an unfair test today. I’m fairly speechless about it [finishing second].”
In an incredible story, Harry Meade, who shattered both his elbows last year and was told he was unlikely to ever ride again, finished in 3rd place with Wild Lone. They came up from 8th place overnight into 3rd with the just first element of the 3-part combination at fence 12 falling.
Leader after cross-country Paul Tapner entered the arena with 2 fences in hand, but the attractive grey Kilronan had 4 rails down dropping him to 4th place.
The only jumping clear came from Wendy Schaeffer riding Koyuna Sun Dancer, but she didn’t make the time, picking up 3pens to finish on 86.7 in 12th place.
Problems were spread around Kelvin Bywater’s course with the 2nd fence and 3-part combination at fence 12 both claiming numerous scalps.
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