World champion Zara Phillips (pictured) has become the first wait-listed rider to benefit from a withdrawal from this year’s Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials (1-4 May).
The entries and waiting list have been published today on Badminton’s website, but already one accepted entry — Lucy Wiegersma’s ride Woodfalls Pure Gold — has been withdrawn. This means Zara, who was first on the waiting list with Ardfield Magic Star, will start at the event.
Ninety horses have been accepted, but William Fox-Pitt, Andrew Nicholson and Oliver Townend all have more than two horses on this list. As riders can only start two horses, the final start number will be around 85.
There are 63 horses on the waiting list. In recent years around 20 horses have been withdrawn each year during the run-up to Badminton, so those near the top of the list can be almost sure they will make it to the start line. Wait-listed entries will be accepted to replace withdrawals until 6pm on the Monday before the event, 28 April.
Some pundits are predicting a high level of withdrawals in this Olympic year — riders may have been encouraged to enter and keep their options open by the fact there is no entry fee for the first time this year.
The Badminton ballot is carried out by accepting horses which have earned the most FEI points at CCI****, CCI*** and CIC*** events in the current or preceeding two years. So this year, points counted from 2006, 2007 and from the CIC*** at Barroca d’Alva, Portugal, in March this year.
Badminton also accepts any horses which the British selectors particularly wish to see run, such as William Fox-Pitt’s 2004 winner Tamarillo.
Tamarillo will be joined at Badminton by one other former winner, Andrew Hoy’s ride Moon Fleet, who won the event in 2006.
Other favourites for the title will include last year’s Burghley winners William Fox-Pitt and Parkmore Ed; Australia’s Clayton Fredericks and Nullabor, dressage leaders at Burghley last year; France’s Nicolas Touzaint and Hildago De L’Ile, who fell at Badminton last year but then won the new CCI**** at Pau in the autumn, as well as Imperial Cavalier (Mary King) and Ensign (Pippa Funnell), second and third to them there.
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