Badminton Horse Trials prizes: all about the Glentrool Trophy

If it hadn’t been for the coronavirus outbreak, we would be gearing up for Badminton Horse Trials, which was due to take place this week (6—10 May). So instead we will take a few trips down memory lane and delve into elements that make up the event. Here we look at the trophy given to the horse who climbs the most places after dressage...

The Glentrool Trophy at the Badminton Horse Trials is given to the combination “whose final position shows the greatest improvement on their dressage placing”.

Lorna Clarke donated it in 1992 when she retired from competition.

She explained in an interview with Eventing in 2005: “My horse Glentrool was one of the best, if not the very best, cross-country horses I ever had, but I bought him knowing he couldn’t do dressage.

“One year at Badminton he was 72nd after the first phase and he rose 59 places. My parents and I thought this was fantastic, but no one ever remembers who finished 13th.

“The trophy is a quach — a Scottish drinking cup that is passed around at wedding and so on — which seemed appropriate as Glentrool is a Scottish name.”

Glentrool’s rise of 59 places in 1985 certainly represents one of the biggest leaderboard leapfrogs ever seen.

In 1999, Ireland’s Austin O’Connor (pictured) and Simply Rhett won the trophy. They rose 63 places and finished a remarkable fourth.

Bad weather often tends to trigger a huge shake-up of the leader board, and 1999 was no exception.

“A monsoon… turned the cross-country into a morass and led to mayhem,” wrote Pippa Cuckson in H&H.

Big gains for strong cross-country rounds were further assisted by a new (and now defunct) scoring system used in 1999. It penalised every second over the optimum time with one time-penalty (rather than today’s 0.4 of a penalty) and every stop with 40 penalties (rather than 20).

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