Catch up with all the latest news from the world of horse trials in our weekly column from Eventing magazine editor Kate Green
A record entry has been received for the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton horse trials (2-5 May), which was cancelled last year due to foot and mouth.
About 50 horses have had to be turned away, based on Badminton’s system of eliminating those horses with the least three-day eventpoints accrued in the past two years.
This system has caught out some established horses who have had a year off through injury and then missed a run last spring through FMD, among them David and Jane Tolley’s two veterans, Hinnegar and Merillion, who have both been placed at four-star level.
The 1999 winner, Ian Stark’s Jaybee, who was not entered for Badminton is travelling across the Atlantic to the Rolex Kentucky CCI**** (25-28 April) instead.
Other Britishentries for Kentucky are William Fox-Pitt with Stunning, who, although virtually unbeaten at three-star level, has yet to complete a four-star event, and Springleaze Macaroo, who competed there last year with Katie Parker, plus Leslie Law with the up-and-coming Shear L’Eau, who makes his four-star debut, and Ian Stark’s experienced Saucy Brown, fourth there in 1998.
Ian is therefore a notable absentee at Badminton and British entries are headed by the reigning European champions Pippa Funnell and Supreme Rock, sixth in 1999, the defending Badminton champion Mary King, this time with King Solomon, a winner at three-star level and twice placed at Burghley, plus the second and third-placed combinations in 2000, Leslie Law (Shear H20) and Rodney Powell (Flintstone lV).
Pippa Funnell also rides the promising Cornerman, fifth at Burghley, and Rodney has a new ride, Weebolla, bought over the winter from Australia.
Other leading British lights are the 1998 winner Chris Bartle (Word Perfect), Karen Dixon (Too Smart, Uptotrix), Tina Gifford(Captain Christy), Polly Stockton (Eye Spy ll) and Caroline Pratt (Primitive Control).
Overseas entries are headed by Australia’s triple Olympic gold medallist Andrew Hoy with the 16-year-old Darien Powers, for whom it may be a last three-day run, and his wife Bettina with Unsung Hero. Blyth Tait with his 2000 Kentucky winner Welton Envoy and Eze and Andrew Nicholson with his Burghley winner and runner-up Mr Smiffy plus Boekelo winner Sheff’s Choice or New York head an extra strong New Zealand contingent.
For information and tickets to Badminton visit www.badminton-horse.co.uk
At the weekend, Ian Stark was in winning form, at Gatcombe, Glos, capturing an open intermediate section on Jaybee and placing fifth on Saucy Brown.
Ruth Friend scored a double, winning the advanced intermediate class on Big Thyme and an intermediate on Two Thyme, both for Maureen and Phil Smith. Bettina Hoy, riding on homeground, took the other OI on Woodsides Ashby, her World Games hope, while her husband Andrew was second to Ian on Ringwood Cockatoo.
Two new combinations were in the money: Mary King was fifth in the AI on her new ride Ryan, formerly ridden by Graham Law, and Angela Tucker was placed in an OI on the Irish team horse Irish Patriot, now ridden by Eric Smiley.
At Great Witchingham in Norfolk, Steven James, now recovered from the crashing show jumping fall he sustained two weeks earlier at Poplar Park, dominated the AI with Pippa Funnell.
Steven won on the huge Inistioge Monarch and was third on Ferndale Victoria, while Pippa was second on the stallion Viceroy ll and fourth on Jurassic Rising. OI wins went to Philip Surl riding Prodigy and Clea Hoeg-Mudd, who is entered for Badminton with Feast Of Florios, on Daws Willowherb.
The week ahead
This week sees the first of the pre-Badminton advanced events, at the newly scheduled and built Burnham Market in Norfolk.
Full reports and results see Eventing’s May issue, with full Badminton preview, on sale 12 April.
For latest results, entries, start times and notices, visit www.britisheventing.com