Supreme Rock, winner of Badminton for the past two years, but who missed September’s European Championships due to injury, will not be going for a Badminton hat-trick this year with Pippa Funnell.
The 16-year-old gelding has been given a bye for the event by Olympic selectors, having already proved himself repeatedly at four-star level, along with Leslie Law’s ride Shear L’Eau, Funnell’s Burghley winner Primmore’s Pride, and Mary King’s King Solomon.
Supreme Rock has not competed since being injured last year but is currently being brought back in to work and is expected to be fit for the Athens Olympics in August.
Funnell will defend her Badminton title with two of her four other long-listed horses — Cornerman, Viceroy, Walk On Star and Jurassic Rising. Final declarations for Badminton must be made by 27 April but at the moment Cornerman and Viceroy are emerging as favourites to compete.
William Fox-Pitt will campaign Tamarillo and Moon Man at Badminton. Moon Man was his team gold-medal winning ride at last year’s European Championships. But Tamarillo, his World Equestrian Games partner in 2002, missed the whole of last season after he was withdrawn from Badminton with heat in his leg.
Fox-Pitt takes Ballincoola and Coastal Ties to Kentucky for their four-star run this weekend. Also bound for Kentucky are Limestone Rise (Polly Jackson) and Word For Word (Polly Stockton).
Stockton will be riding her other long-listed horse, Tangleman, at Badminton, following the sad news that 15-year-old Eye Spy has been put down after an “insignificant” injury deteriorated. The former partner of Mark Todd, who won his final Olympic medal with the horse at Sydney 2000, was also long-listed for Athens.
Other long-listed horses due to run at Badminton are Sydney Olympic silver medallists Shear H20 (Leslie Law) and Over To You (Jeanette Brakewell), Captain Christy (Kristina Cook), The Wexford Lady (Sarah Cutteridge), Primitive Control and Call Again Cavalier (Caroline Pratt) and The Psephologist (Bumble Thomas).