Zara Phillips joins 17 other riders who have already won at four-star on the list of accepted entries for the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials, published today.
Zara brings Trevor Hemmings’ High Kingdom, 10th at Burghley last year (right), in the hope of bettering her best ever placing at Badminton – 16th in 2008 on Glenbuck – and perhaps giving herself an outside chance of a spot on the British team for this summer’s Olympics in London.
Seven riders who have won Badminton before are entered – Andrew Hoy, Paul Tapner, William Fox-Pitt, Pippa Funnell, Mary King, Oliver Townend and Mark Todd. Only one horse who has taken top spot here before returns – Inonothing, the 2010 winner with Paul Tapner, who is recently back from injury.
Excitingly, world and European champion Michael Jung is entered for the first time, although not with his top horse, La Biosthetique-Sam FBW. The 29-year-old rides the 13-year-old Leopin FST, who has won at two- and three-star, but is looking for a first four-star completion after retiring at Luhm ¼hlen last year.
Michael heads a strong German entry which also includes Bettina Hoy – on the comeback trail – Dirk Schrade and Simone Deitermann.
Ireland has 13 horses accepted, including Camilla Speirs’ Portersize Just A Jiff and Sam Watson’s Horseware Bushman, and also holds top spot on the waiting list with Declan Cullen’s coloured stallion Glenhill Gold.
The other stallion in the mix is Mary King’s new ride, Chilli Morning.
Among the entries is H&H online diarist Lauren Shannon with Zero Flight, Laura Collett – bringing back Rayef, who made a stunning debut here last year – and Italy’s Vittoria Panizzon’s Rock Model, also recently returned from time off injured.
Lenamore (Caroline Powell) and Comanche (James Robinson), both 19, are bidding to become the first horses to complete Badminton eight times. If Lenamore does it, this would also be a fantastic eighth consecutive finish for the popular grey.
Bigger entry than last year
A whopping 49 horses are on the waiting list, compared to 40 last year. In all, Badminton received 141 entries this year – compared to 134 last year – so the re-introduction of the entry fee has evidently not put riders off. There were 151 entries in 2010, 130 in 2009 and 153 in 2008.
Ninety-two horses have been accepted, but a maximum of 85 will start – the extras take into account that some riders have more than two horses accepted, but they can only start on two.
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.
The wait-listed entries will replace horses which are withdrawn up until 2pm on Monday, 30 April.
Last year just 17 horses were accepted from waiting list – the smallest number since this system began. In 2010 31 were accepted from the waiting list, 43 in 2009 and 38 in 2008.
Badminton debutant and H&H diarist Gaby Cooke is third on the waiting list – so can be sure she will get a run with Sir Roscoe – while Rosie Thomas will be crossing her fingers that she gets in with Barry’s Best, who is 18th on the list and always a crowd favourite.