Foreign riders flock to ‘new’ Badminton

  • Dozens of top names have entered this year’s Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials (4-7 May). The entry list, released yesterday, reveals that riders from 13 countries will be making their way to the Duke of Beaufort’s Gloucestershire estate to contest what is arguably eventing’s most prestigious accolade.

    Britain is fielding an impressively strong line-up as usual; Pippa Funnell, Jeanette Brakewell and Kristina Cook will all be participating and 2004 winner William Fox-Pitt has no less than possible four starters.

    For the first time in history, Badminton Horse Trials will run without the steeplechase and endurance phases, bringing it in line with international championship competitions. The transformation to the traditional format has attracted more foreign entries than ever — particularly from Europe.

    Italy’s Susanna Bordone, a mounted policeman, has two rides and Portugal’s Frederico Mexia de Almedia will be partnering Pegaso. German medical student Anna Warnecke, Belgium’s Karin Donkers and Marie-Christine Duroy from France will also be making the journey to Gloucestershire. Five Swedish riders have entered including Dag Albert and Linda Algotsson and Ireland also boasts five, including Jonty Evans, who is based just down the road from the event.

    Australia and New Zealand are well represented, with a total of 12 entries. Olympic gold medallists Matt Ryan, Phillip Dutton and Andrew Hoy will all be looking to score their first Badminton win. They will be joined by New Zealand’s Andrew Nicholson, who has won at Burghley and completed Badminton a record 23 times, but never won. He has entered Flush Banker, Duddles and Lord Killinghurst and can choose two of the three to ride.

    Samantha Albert will be the first person ever to ride at Badminton for Jamaica and Brazil’s Carlos Paro will also be competing.

    William Fox-Pitt, the only contestant for this year’s Rolex Grand Slam, has entered his 2004 champion Tamarillo along with three other possible starters: Ballincoola, Coup du Coeur and Idalgo. Last year’s winner Pippa Funnell is partnering her European Championship ride Ensign and Rodney Powell is riding Liquid Ice.

    The usual starting figure for Badminton is around 80 once there have been inevitable drop outs between entry and starting. Thirty five of these will be Badminton debutantes and among these could be young guns Harry Meade, son of former winner Richard Meade and Ingrid Klimke, daughter of the German dressage legend Reiner Klimke. Britain’s young talents, Oliver Townend, Polly Jackson, and Francis Whittington will also be hoping for a good Badminton run.

    The youngest rider entered for this year’s event is 21-year-old Sarra Mayberry. At 57 Eddy Stibbeis the oldest competitor this year, with Jeanette Brakewell’s incredible team partner Over to You, is the oldest horse at the grand age of 18.

    For more information or to book tickets visit: www.badminton-horse.co.uk

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