Badminton has been the Holy Grail for eventers since was first run more than 50 years ago and this year’s event looks set to live up to all expectations.

Hugh Thomas’s beautifully presented 32-fence course is packed with tough questions and an international field of the highest level, including former winners Pippa Funnell, Mary King and Bruce Davidson, will be facing up to the challenge.

Established combinations from around the globe will be competing alongside rising stars of the eventing world. Click here for a full list of entries.

Action from Badminton, including highlights from Saturday’s cross-country phase, will be shown during Sunday Grandstand on BBC2 this weekend. Sunday Grandstand begins at 12:50pm, with Badminton action starting at approximately 1.30pm.

Fascinating facts

  • Overall, men have won Badminton six more times than women, despite a record-breaking six wins by Lucinda Green (n‚e Prior-Palmer).
  • The first woman to win Badminton was Margaret Hough in 1954
  • Only three horses have won Badminton twice: Kilbarry, High And Mighty and Great Ovation
  • At just 15hh the smallest winners areOur Solo (Bill Roycroft, 1960) and Our Nobby (Jane Bullen, 1968).
  • The youngest horse to win Badminton was John Shedden’s five-year-old Golden Willow, at the first ever Badminton in 1949. The oldest is Horton Point, 16, in 1994.
  • Only three mares have won: Emily Little (Mark Darley, 1952); Bambi (Margaret Hough); and Peggoty (Martin Whiteley, Little Badminton 1960).
  • The oldest winning rider at Badminton is Chris Bartle, 46, in 1998.
  • At 53, Bruce Davidson will be the oldest rider in 2003. The youngest rider entered this year is 20-year-old Victoria Abbott.
  • The trials were first televised in 1954. In 2002 there were 17 cameras covering the event for the Outside Broadcasts Unit of the BBC.
  • Bad weather has forced the cancellation of Badminton on three occasions – in 1966, 1975 and 1987. FMD caused the cancellation of the 2001 Event.

WIN WIN WIN

Horse & Hound readers who visit the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials next week should make a beeline the Horse & Hound stand for a chance to win either a fantastic Honda ATV worth more than £6,000 or £1,000 of Masta rugs.

The Honda TRX 350 ES 4wd ATV will prove an invaluable addition to any yard, with a wide range of optional attachments available to enable you to transport feed and bedding, deliver water, collect muck or maintain your menagewith ease.

Simply bring your copy of the 24 April or 1 May issue of Horse & Hound magazine to stand no 115 to find out if the unique number printed on the front is a winning one.

Readers are invited to tap their code into the safe’s keypadon the Horse & Hound stand and if the door springs open to reveal a set of keys the all-terrain vehicle is yours.

Alternatively would you like a complete new wardrobe for your horse? One lucky winner will have Masta’s full range of summer and winter rugs to choose from, up to the value of a massive £1,000. Just answer a simple question to be entered into the prize draw.

If the ATV or the Masta products are not claimed by the end of Sunday, a draw will be made among the visitors to the Horse & Hound stand during the event to decide the winners.

Plus, anyone taking out a subscription to Horse & Hound at Badminton will receive a free bottle of The Balvenie whisky and a 30% discount on our usual subscription rates.

For more information on Honda’s ATV range, or a free brochure, call (tel: 0845 200 8000) and quote HPE013 or visit: www.honda.co.uk/hh

Masta’s extensive range of rugs can be viewed at: www.masta.co.uk

The competition’s full terms and conditions will be available on the stand at Badminton.