The US rider tells us more about completing the four-star set at Badminton and the horse he took on after his owner-breeder was killed in a car crash

US rider Boyd Martin’s mount for his first Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials this week (5-8 May) has a particularly strong emotional tie for his owner, Lucy Boynton Lie.

The 13-year-old grey Cracker Jack was bred by Lucy’s son, young US Colin Davidson, who was killed in a car accident in 2010.

“His mother sent Crackers to me to sell initially, but she enjoyed watching him compete, so decided to keep him with me,” explains Boyd.

“He’s a bit of a wild man — very forward thinking and bold across country, a lovely mover on the flat and a very good showjumper, so I thought he’d be a good pick for my first Badminton.”

The horse is by Aberjack, who was competed at advanced level by Mark Todd, out of an American thoroughbred mare.

Completing the set

Boyd is Australian-born but has lived in the US since 2007 and represented that nation since 2009. The best of the US riders at the 2014 World Equestrian Games, he has a notably strong team of horses at the top level.

Last week he rode three horses at Rolex Kentucky and he originally had two entered for Badminton, but Master Frisky had a bout of cellulitis as he was about to get on the plane. He has been treated with antibiotics and re-routed to Jersey Fresh CIC3* the week after Badminton.

“I’ve never been to Badminton because it’s so much easier just to go to Rolex, but you can only ride three there and I have five four-star horses,” said Boyd. “Badminton is also the only four-star I haven’t done — I’ve done all the others including the World Equestrian Games and the Olympics.”

Clayton Fredericks is believed to be the only rider who has completed all the world’s six Classic four-stars. Alice Dunsdon is also aiming to become the first person to finish them all on one horse this year at Badminton.

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Boyd flew out of America on Sunday night after Rolex Kentucky to join Cracker Jack, who had been based at New Zealander Jesse Campbell’s yard with groom Kristen Merette since arriving in the UK.

His wife, Silva Martin, is a German-born dressage rider who also represents the US. She will not be making the trip to Badminton as the couple have a six-month-old son, Nox.

Unlike some other first-timers, Boyd is certainly not at Badminton just to complete.

“My aim is to do very well,” says Boyd. “I’d like to be right in there at the end.”