Ben greeted his acceptance on Friday with a tweet saying: “Best news ever!” He finished 33rd at Burghley last year with the same horse, Gun A B Good, earning the prize for best under-25 British rider. Ben completed Badminton in 2011 on his young rider team gold medallist Uptons Who (pictured).
There were no further withdrawals over the weekend, so the final line-up for Badminton is now complete — unless Rolex Grand Slam contenders Andrew Nicholson or William Fox-Pitt change their minds about which horses they are bringing.
Andrew intends to ride Nereo and Avebury, but still has Mr Cruise Control on the list, while William’s first choices are Parklane Hawk and Oslo, but he has Lionheart and Cool Mountain entered as back-ups. The riders can only actually arrive at Badminton with two horses.
Fourteen pairs were accepted from the wait-list, the lowest number since this system was brought in. The previous lowest was 17 in 2011, compared to 31 in 2010, 43 in 2009 and 38 in 2008.
Other riders to make it in at the last-minute include Brit Hannah Bate (Finbury Hill), first-timer Megan Heath (New Zealand) with St Daniel and American debutant Clark Montgomery on Universe.
Four Brits — Willa Newton, Tom McEwen, Jamie Atkinson and Louisa Milne Holme — will tackle their first Badminton this year, while 23 foreign first-timers come forward, including Olympic champion Michael Jung.
High-profile late withdrawals include Piggy French and her 2011 runner-up Jakata and Pippa Funnell’s ride Mirage D’Elle, who Pippa considered short of a run to come to the event. Pippa still competes on Redesigned, who will be the final horse to go.
Badminton entries (those with WL after their names did not make it in from the wait-list)
Don’t miss the second part of H&H’s Badminton preview — a 16-page pull-out with form guide and a scorecard to fill in for every rider — on sale this Thursday, 2 May.