This year there are 33 fences, 45 jumping efforts, over a distance of 6,500 metres (just over four miles) to be completed in a provisional optimum time of 11 minutes 30 seconds.
In his third year as course designer of the cross-country course at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials, Guiseppe Della Chiesa has decided to go against tradition with this year’s course following roughly the same direction as last year.
Fence one is the usual ASX Starter in the Main Arena, then left to two angled hedges. Fence four is the new-look HorseQuest Quarry, where riders will go down into the pit to jump Mike Weaver’s Hay Cart, then out of the quarry before looping left and jumping back into and out of the quarry over two stone walls.
There is then a gallop to the Oxer Chicane; a simple parallel at fence six before combinations arrive at the Irish Horse Gateway Huntsmans Close where there are two large brush corners.
Moving onto fence eight in front of Badminton House you find the Wadworth Lower Lake; a big log into the water at the lower end of the Lake.
Giuseppe then reroutes from last year, going to the white spreads at the Jack Wills Garden.
Riders then have a long gallop to the Sinwdon Designer Outlet Mound at fences 10, 11 and 12. This is a log on the flat, followed by another in the dip, up a steep slope to an airy suspended log.
There is then a let up spread before a new look Mirage Pond. The first element is a narrow kennel with an immediate drop into the pond and then there are two choices of narrow kennel to exit over.
Fence 16 is another let up fence, the PHEV Oxer, then up one of the few inclines in Badminton Park to the Gatehouse New Pond which was a new fence in 2015. Again very different to last time, the direct route involves a birch drop into the water, a spread in the pond and out on a sweeping left curve to a very open birch corner.
There is the Rolex Grand Slam Hedge before the infamous KBIS Vicarage Vee which is still enormous!
Fence 22 is the Outlander Bank, a large step up, bounce to a narrow roll top feeder. Then it is a right turn to the Shogun Hollow, an angled double of hedges, with a dip between them.
There is another long gallop back to the World Horse Welfare Garden which features two very upright gates on a curve.
Now riders get to the Lake complex. It is much later on in the course this year, which changes its significance. The first element, which miraculously finds itself as fence 25, celebrates the silver anniversary of Mitsubishi Motors sponsorship, with the back to back silver L200 Pick Ups. It is then a left loop to a quite inviting brush into the Lake, followed by a choice of exit over another brush followed by brush cubes.
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Riders then start to make their way home via the Alexanders Silver Birch complex; two angled paralleles at fences 27 and 28 and then onto the straightforward Countryside Tree.
Last year Savills Escalator proved perhaps on the kind side, so more of a slalom effect is required this time. The Devoucoux Keepers Brush is the same as always.
There is then the penultimate fence; the Rolex Crossing which features a double of angled logs before re-entering the main arena for the Mitsubishi Finale.
Horse & Hound will be covering Badminton in full online with reports, blogs and our renowned written commentary, H&H Live. Plus don’t miss H&H’s Badminton magazine coverage:
28 April: preview including course walk with triple Badminton winner Ian Stark
5 May: pull-out form guide with info on every horse and rider competing
12 May: 22-page report including full analysis and expert comment