New Zealand’s double Olympic champion, who made a comeback to eventing before the 2008 Olympics, now has a fourth win at Badminton in his sights. But it wasn’t plain sailing today, either over the course or on the scoring side.
The end of day results first showed German rider Marina Kohncke as the leader, but there had been some adjustments to her time during the day, the confusion caused by the fact she had been held at the Countryside Table (fence 17) due to Louise Skelton falling with Partly Pickled at the Rolex Turn (fence 29ab).
At the close of cross-country Marina and her mare Calma Schelly had 3.2 time-penalties. However, eventually she was given an extra 0.8 of a penalty for an extra 2sec over the time, and this put her 0.2 of a penalty behind Mark Todd.
Mark rode brilliantly on the young Badminton first-timer NZB Land Vision to add 6.8 time-penalties and move up from fourth after dressage.
“He’s a relatively inexperienced 10-year-old and he did feel green out there, but he’s a very, very good horse,” said Mark. “He got tired at the end and I had to nurse him home, but he felt really genuine and never stopped trying.”
Marina too is a comeback rider — she last rode at Badminton in 1994, when she led the dressage, but fell at the Luckington Lane with Sundance Kid.
In third is Nicola Wilson, who added to her best-ever dressage score on the popular British team trailblazer Opposition Buzz with her customary clear in the time across country.
Andrew Nicholson also went clear inside the time for fourth on Nereo. Just seven horses achieved the 11min 16sec optimum time and Andrew rode two of them — he is also 11th on Avebury.
Overnight leader Ruth Edge was riding with determination but going clear until Two Thyme stopped at the second element of the bounce at the Irish Sport Horse Studbook Huntsmans Close (fence 24b). She then had another 20 penalties at the HorseQuest Quarry and pulled up.
The other riders in the top three after dressage both went well but had a few time-penalties — Piggy French (Jakata) dropped to fifth from second and Laura Collett (Rayef) to sixth from third.
Falls and injury update
There were a number of holds due to falls during the day.
Ireland’s Elizabeth Power fell when Kilpatrick River left a leg at the Irish Sport Horse Studbook Huntsmans Close. She regained consciousness and was airlifted to Frenchay Hospital for a detailed examination.
Fellow Irish rider Camilla Speirs (Portersize Just A Jiff) had a fall at the L200 Pick Ups and was ambulanced off course. She was taken to an on site medical centre and subsequently to Frenchay for further examination.
Ingrid Klimke (FRH Butts Abraxxas) fell earlier in the day, at the gate into Huntsmans Close, and sustained an injury to her leg. She was taken to Frenchay for a precautionary X-ray to her knee.
The latest information is that no horses were seriously injured.
Don’t forget to buy Horse & Hound next week (28 April) for our 15-page special Badminton report including comments from Carl Hester and Mark Phillips, day-by-day analysis of all the action and more.