World and European champion event rider Zara Phillips has a strong draw for her first Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials, where she will start as number 62.
There are currently 96 horses on the start list, which, depending on withdrawals, means Zara will do her dressage on Friday morning.
Historically, marking tends to be higher on the second day, and she will also have the advantage of seeing a number of combinations tackle the cross-country on Saturday before taking her turn.
But Badminton director Hugh Thomas has predicted the World Champion will not have a walkover. He said: “The entries promise a classic Badminton. Zara will have her work cut out to win it.”
Zara’s World Equestrian Games teammate Daisy Dick will be the first rider into the dressage arena on Thursday — and the first to tackle Hugh’s track on Saturday. She rides the imposing grey Hope Street, 16th last year, as the pathfinder, with her WEG silver medallist Spring Along coming near the end of the field.
Read about the first-timers at Badminton and what Lucinda Green thinks of the course in next Thursday’s Horse & Hound (26 April).
For the full drawn order visit www.badminton-horse.co.uk