- Pippa Funnell
- William Fox-Pitt
- Leslie Law
- Andrew Nicholson
- Jeanette Brakewell
- Andrew Hoy
- Kristina Cook
- Matt Ryan
- Rodney Powell
- Karen Dixon
Who do you think will win this year’s Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials? Vote now in our online poll (see right)
Location: Dorking, Surrey
FEI Rank: 1
Badminton Ride(s): Walk on Star, Cornerman, Viceroy II
Who would bet against British eventing’s golden girl Pippa Funnell adding a Badminton hat-trick to her amazing achievements of 2003?
Pippa’s 2003 season included wins at Badminton, Kentucky and Burghley to claim the Grand Slam, plus Saumur and team gold and individual bronze with Walk on Star at the Europeans in Punchestown.
Winner of Badminton with Supreme Rock for the past two years, Pippa’s infamous partner has been excused from the event this year by the British Olympic selectors. Supreme Rock suffered an injury last season, but is expected to be fit in time for Athens, although he is yet to run this year.
Pippa was the first woman to lead the FEI world rankings, and has six horses long-listed for the Athens Olympics. She will be riding two of her three entered horses at Badminton this year. Cornerman was sixth at Badminton last year, while the Bunn’s stallion Viceroy II, was third at Blenheim in 2003.
Pippa is married to the accomplished show jumper William Funnell, and has published several instructional books and videos.
Location: Sturminster Newton, Dorset
FEI Rank: 2
Badminton Ride(s): Tamarillo and Moon Man
Former world number one rider, William Fox-Pitt is a regular member of the British eventing team and has an impressive string of horses this year. He will be riding Tamarillo and Moon Man at Badminton, while Ballincoola and Coastal Ties ran at Lexington.
Moon Man was William’s team gold-medal winning ride at last year’s European Championships, but Tamarillo, his World Equestrian Games partner in 2002, missed the whole of last season after he was withdrawn from Badminton with heat in his leg.
William was another British rider who enjoyed an extremely successful season in 2003. He was a part of the 2003 Gold medal team at the European Championships, as well as being placed on seven of his eight rides at Gatcombe. He also won Boekelo CCI*** by a 17 penalty margin with Tom Cruise.
William first competed at Badminton in 1989 with Steadfast. He was third at Badminton in 1997, and was runner-up with Tamarillo in 2002. He has won Burghley twice, and is due a win at the world’s most challenging three-day event.
William recently married fellow event rider Alice Plunkett.
Location: Upton upon Severn, Worcs
FEI Rank: 4
Badminton Ride(s): Shear H2O
Leslie has made a fantastic start to the 2004 season, claiming an impressive first and third in the advanced section at Burnham Market Horse Trials with his team of flying greys, Shear L’Eau and Shear H2O, who are both long-listed for Athens.
Leslie is riding the older of his two partners, Shear H2O, at Badminton this year after the Olympic selectors decided that Shear L’Eau did not need to run at Badminton in order to be considered for the Olympic team.
Fourteen-year-old Shear H2O has enjoyed excellent Badminton form in recent years, being placed second in 2000, third in 2002 and fifth in 2003. Shear H2O also won team silver at the Sydney Olympics, and was a part of the bronze team at WEG 2002.
Leslie has been a regular member of the British team in recent years and helped Britain win team gold at last year’s European Championships in Punchestown with Shear L’Eau.
Location: Marlborough, Wilts
FEI Rank: 6
Badminton Ride(s): Fenicio, Lord Killinghurst, Flush Banker
A cornerstone of the New Zealand eventing team for the past decade, Andrew Nicholson helped the Kiwis gain a team silver medal in Barcelona in 1992 and team bronze in Atlanta in 1996. Andrew also won team gold medals at the World Championships in Stockholm in 1990 and Rome 1998.
Andrew won his first major title at Burghley in 1995 and Burghley has proved a luckier venue for Andrew than Badminton over the years. He came close to achieving a Burghley double in 2000 and 2001 with Mr Smiffy, but was pipped to the post by his fellow countryman Blyth Tait on Reddy Teddy. He was also third at Burghley last year with Lord Killinghurst.
Andrew has an enviable record at the highest level, but he has yet to make it into the top three at Badminton. As one of a handful of riders with two horses, he will know what he has to beat this year as he has been drawn last to go with Lord Killinghurst.
Andrew has recently set up a yard with Wiggy Fox-Pitt.
Location: Melton Mowbray, Leics
FEI Rank: 13
Badminton Ride(s): Over To You
A regular member of the British team, Jeanette has established herself as the team’s pathfinder in recent years. She has been instrumental in helping Britain achieve European gold team medals in 1999, 2001 and 2003, despite suffering a nasty fall at the bank in the water at Punchestown.
Jeanette represented Britain at the Sydney Olympics, where the British team took the silver medal. She was the highest placed British rider at the World Equestrian Games in Jerez in 2002 where she won her first individual silver medal with Over To You.
After 12 years together, there isn’t much Jeanette doesn’t know about getting the best out of 16-year-old “Jack”, who was the only horse to finish on his dressage score when placed third at Badminton last year.
Jeanette is long-listed for Athens with Over To You and runs a yard with Australian rider Brook Staples.
Location: Stroud, Glos
FEI Rank: 17
Badminton Ride(s): Mr Pracatan
British-based Australian rider Andrew Hoy enjoyed a successful season last year including his best-ever placing at Badminton (seventh) with Mr Pracatan, as well as being ninth at Burghley with Master Monarch.
Andrew has enjoyed a long and illustrious career including three Olympic team gold medals and an individual Olympic silver medal in his native Australia at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.
Twelve-year-old Mr Pracatan is proving to be a useful replacement for Andrew’s eye-catching dual gold Olympic team medal-winning partner Darien Powers. Mr Pracatan’s best result to date is fourth at Burghley in 2002.
Andrew has made a positive start to the 2004 season, including fourth place and the fastest cross-country round of the day with Master Monarch at Fontainebleau CIC***.
Andrew is based at Gatcome Park in Glos and is married to German international event rider Bettina Hoy.
Location: Worthington, W. Sussex
FEI Rank: 40
Badminton Ride(s): Arch Rival II or Captain Christie
A regular member of the British Team from junior level upwards, Tina has helped Britain claim team gold medals at a number of championship events including the senior World Championships in 1994 and the Open Europeans in 1995.
Tina’s medal tally includes an individual European bronze medal at the Open European Championships at Burghley in 1997, where she was placed sixth overall.
Tina was Britain’s reserve rider at the Sydney Olympics, and completed WEG 2002 with Captain Christie, although the partnership suffered an unfortunate fall at the water jump at the Europeans.
Fifth place with General Jock in 1995 is Tina’s best Badminton result to date. She has a choice of riding either Arch Rival II or Captain Christie, who has been long listed for the Athens Olympics, at Badminton this year.
Tina’s father is former top National hunt trainer Josh Gifford.
Location: How Caple, Hereford
FEI Rank: 138
Badminton Ride(s): Bonza Puzzle
Triple Olympic gold medallist Matt Ryan has made an incredible start to the 2004 season, winning sections at Somerley Park, Aldon, Poplar Park, Belton Park, and Goring Heath. He will undoubtably be hoping that his current form holds for Badminton and beyond.
The Australian rider has represented his country at numerous championships including winning individual and team gold at the Barcelona Olympics and team gold on home ground at the last Olympics in Sydney.
Matt’s best result at Badminton was runner-up with his famous partner Kibah Tic Toc in 1995 and he was seventh with Kibah Sandstone in 2000. More recently he was 14th in 2002 and 24th in 2003 with Balmoral Mr Slinky.
Bonza Puzzle will be stepping up to four-star level for the first time at Badminton this year. Matt has always had high hopes for this horse, who was fourth in the Chatsworth CIC*** and eighth in the World Cup final in Pau, France last year.
Location: Swindon, Wilts
FEI Rank: 203
Badminton Ride(s): Major Sweep
Former Badminton winner with The Irishman II in 1991, Rodney Powell will be riding Major Sweep at this year’s event.
Rodney has represented Britain at a number of major championships during his long career since he first reached the top flight with Pomeroy in 1984. Rodney has won at Blenheim and Blair and was placed third at Badminton in 2000 with Flintstone IV.
Bad luck saw Rodney miss the Sydney Olympics in 2000 due to an injury, and then Flintstone IV went lame just before Pau in 2001. The partnership did manage to compete at Lexington in 2001, where they were placed sixth.
Major Sweep, an 11-year-old thoroughbred, was fourth at Blenheim in 2002. This will be Major Sweep’s second time at Badminton, and Rodney will be hoping for a better run than last year, when he retired on the cross-country.
Rodney has been long-listed for the Athens Olympics with Colour Coded.
Location: Bernard Castle, Co Durham
FEI Rank: 358
Badminton Ride(s): Uptotrix
A former regular member of the British Olympic team, Karen Dixon has been successful at the highest level, including winning team silver at the Seoul Olympics in 1988 with Get Smart. She was also sixth in Barcelona, went clear in Atlanta and was placed 11th at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.
Karen’s extensive achievements, before taking a break from the sport to have her two children, also include team gold and individual bronze medals from the 1991 Europeans at Punchestown and the 1994 WEG. She has made a successful return to top flight eventing following the birth of her second child in 2002.
Uptotrix is a brilliant jumper, who is often burdened by his dressage score, but if his dressage has improved, he could be a major player. Uptotrix and Karen were placed 16th at Badminton in 2002, and retired in 2003 after a bad fall cross-country at a fence which was later removed from the course due to poor going. Karen’s highest placing at Badminton was fifth with Get Smart.
Karen was awarded an MBE in 1988 and is married to Andrew Dixon. Her brother Matthew is Performance Director for the British Equestrian Teams.