Germany’s Olympic champion Michael Jung and his gold medal-winning team-mates from London 2012 head up the entry list for this year’s Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials, revealed this morning.
Michael will field two horses on his Badminton debut, his European, Olympic and world champion La Biosthetique-Sam FBW (pictured) and last year’s Luhmühlen CCI**** winner Leopin FST. He stands a good chance of being the first person to win on their first attempt here since Mark Todd triumphed back in 1980.
Three more of the German team from the Games will come to Badminton: the individual bronze medalists Sandra Auffarth (also a first-timer) and Opgun Louvo, Dirk Schrade (who is looking for a first completion having withdrawn after dressage in 2006) on his London ride King Artus and Hop And Skip and Ingrid Klimke — who was second here in 2006 with Sleep Late and rides FRH Butts Abraxxas this time.
All the British silver medal winners have entered their London horses. Nicola Wilson and Opposition Buzz have been in the top eight three times here, while Zara Phillips’ ride High Kingdom makes his debut.
Tina Cook will want a first completion as well as a high placing for Miners Frolic, who fell in The Lake in 2010 and was withdrawn before dressage in 2011 with the wither lump which went on to trigger his serious health issues that year. Tina has a second ride in the home-bred De Novo News.
Mary King has a choice of three rides (riders can only start on two horses): Imperial Cavalier, Kings Temptress and Fernhill Urco, who all have strong four-star results to their names.
William Fox-Pitt has an impressive line-up of five horses entered as he seeks to complete the valuable Rolex Grand Slam: London ride Lionheart, Bramham winner Chilli Morning, world silver medallist Cool Mountain, Burghley and Kentucky winner Parklane Hawk and Oslo, the 2011 Pau winner who is returning from injury this season.
Four of the riders who took team bronze for New Zealand compete, three of them potentially on their London horses. Andrew Nicholson has Nereo, Avebury and Mr Cruise Control entered, Mark Todd also has three (new ride Ravenstar, Major Milestone and NZB Campino). Jock Paget has Clifton Promise and Clifton Lush, while Caroline Powell has Boston Two Tip and Onwards And Upwards, but will miss the recently-retired Lenamore. If Jonelle Richards and Flintstar get in from the waiting list (22nd), all five of the Kiwi London team will be here.
Seven riders who have won before are entered: Paul Tapner, William Fox-Pitt, Pippa Funnell (who, excitingly, has Redesigned on the list), Mary King, Oliver Townend, Mark Todd and Lucinda Fredericks. Lucinda is 23rd on the waiting list with Prada, but if the numbers from previous years hold true, she is likely to get in (see more below).
H&H eventing diarist Lauren Shannon is entered with Zero Flight, while first-timers to watch include 2011 young rider team gold and individual silver medallist Willa Newton with Neelix (second on the waiting list) and Tom McEwen, 19th on his four-star debut at Burghley 2011 with the horse he rides here, Dry Old Party.
How many will get in from the waiting list?
In all, 141 horses were entered for Badminton — an identical number to last year. Fifty are on the waiting list, just one more than last year.
Ninety-one horses have been accepted, but a maximum of 85 will start — the extras take into account that four riders have more than two horses accepted, but they can only start on two.
Horses are accepted into Badminton on the basis of which have won the most FEI points at three- and four-star level in the past two years, so the horses with most points are accepted and then the others are wait-listed in points order.
Since this system was brought in 2008, between 17 (in 2011) and 43 horses (in 2009) have been accepted from the waiting list into the competition. Badminton was cancelled in 2012 before the cut-off point so there are no comparable statistics. The average from the four years between 2009 and 2011 is 32 horses accepted from the waiting list.
If that average applied this year, Emily Llewellyn and Pardon Me II, 32nd on the list, would be the final combination to get in, while those who miss out would include Georgie Spence with Running Brook II (42nd on the list), a rider who has previously won the best under-25 prize here, and vet Tony Warr (44th) on his popular horse Coolgrange Merger.
The wait-listed entries will replace horses which are withdrawn up until 2pm on Monday, 29 April.