11 pairs to watch at Badminton Horse Trials: will one of these riders win this week’s five-star?

  • Who are the favourites among the Badminton Horse Trials riders and horses at this week’s competition, presented by Mars Equestrian?

    Here are 11 pairs you should keep a close eye on as the Gloucestershire five-star gets underway…

    Badminton Horse Trials riders and horses: the top 13 contenders

    List in number order, with info presented as follows:

    Number. Rider name
    Rider age, nationality

    Horse name, horse age, horse colour, horse gender, horse sire x horse damsire, horse owner(s)

    Form assessment

    5. Oliver Townend
    40, GBR

    Swallow Springs, 15 gr g, Chillout x Cult Hero, Paul & Diana Ridgeon

    Shropshire-based Oliver won Badminton in 2009 on Flint Curtis and this horse represents his best chance of repeating that victory this year, assuming he can put a fall at Burghley Horse Trials last year behind him. Oliver took on the ride in the autumn of 2021, after he’d been fifth at Badminton and third at Burghley with Andrew Nicholson, and they were third here last year.

    11. Tim Price
    44, NZL

    Vitali, 13 b g, Contender x Heraldik xx, Alexander & Joseph Giannamore & rider

    This horse, who was Tim’s Tokyo Olympic ride, finished 10th at Luhmühlen Horse Trials and third at Burghley last year. He had three showjumps down on both occasions, so it’s likely he’d need to improve in that phase for a top placing here, but he can be super-competitive in the first two phases. Dorset-based Tim’s best Badminton result is third in 2017 on Xavier Faer.

    18. Tom Jackson
    30, GBR

    Capels Hollow Drift, 12 gr g, Shannondale Sarco St Ghyvan x Lucky Gift, Patricia Davenport, Milly Simmie & Sarah Webb

    This horse started 2022 as a relatively inexperienced Badminton hopeful and had a stellar year, following 16th here with second at Burghley. They won’t lead the dressage but should be handily placed to capitalise on good jumping performances and improve on last year’s placing. Surrey-based Tom is a three-time junior and young rider team medallist.

    30. Gemma Stevens
    38, GBR

    Jalapeno, 15 ch m, Chilli Morning x Shaab, Christopher Stone

    Jalapeno was produced to four-star by Belgium’s Karin Donckers, with Gemma taking over in 2019. Their many good four-star results include two wins and they have completed Pau’s cross-country with 20 jumping penalties, so could be very competitive. West Sussex-based Gemma won the Bicton five-star in 2021. Her best result here is third on Arctic Soul in 2016.

    48. Tom McEwen
    31, GBR

    Toledo De Kerser, 16 b g, Diamant De Semilly x Papillon Rouge, Fred & Penny Barker, Jane Inns & rider’s mother Ali

    Olympic team gold and individual silver medallists, who had a rocky start to 2022 when they fell here. They ended the year with 12th at the World Championships – not bad, but they know they’re capable of more. Five-star winners at Pau 2019, they’ve been in the top 11 here three times and could go all the way if back at their best. Tom lives in Gloucestershire.

    49. Kitty King
    40, GBR

    Vendredi Biats, 14 gr g, Winningmood x Camelia De Ruelles, Diana Bown, Sally Lloyd Baker, Samantha Wilson, & the late Sally Eyre

    Kitty has a serious chance of her first five-star title here. She and Vendredi Biats are European team gold medallists (twice individual top 10 at Europeans), were seventh here last year and then sixth at Burghley, where they led the dressage and had a very unfortunate frangible penalty across country. They’ve also been in the top 10 at four-star 13 times.

    71. Ros Canter
    37, GBR

    Lordships Graffalo, 11 b g, Birkhof’s Grafenstolz x Rock King, Michele Saul

    This pair were second here last year on Lordships Graffalo’s five-star debut and went on to finish fourth individually at the World Championships, so they are very much contenders for the top spot this time. Nothing much seems to faze “Walter” or his rider. Ros has also been third here on Allstar B – can she complete the set of podium positions this time?

    75. Oliver Townend
    40, GBR

    Ballaghmor Class, 16 gr g, Courage x unlisted, Karyn Shuter, Angela Hislop & Val Ryan

    The grand old man of Oliver’s entries and a true all-time great – Olympic team gold medallist (and fifth individually), double five-star winner and the holder of five other top-five placings at the level. The final phase is his potential Achilles’ heel – he had four down at the worlds last year – so Monday will be exciting if he runs as he should be right up there until then.

    78. Laura Collett
    33, GBR

    Dacapo, 14 d br g, Diarado x Canturo, Diana Chappell, Gillian Morris-Adams, Alison & Michael Smedley and Carolyn Taylor

    Laura was last year’s winner on London 52 and says this horse is as talented, but so opinionated you have to make him think it’s his idea. He was retired across country on his only previous five-star start, at Pau 2021, but was in the top five on all four of his four-star runs last year, including winning Millfield CCI4*-L, and recently won at Burnham Market so could be very competitive.

    84. Pippa Funnell
    54, GBR

    Billy Walk On, 14 b g, Billy Mexico x Golden Bash, Barbara & Nicholas Walkinshaw

    Badminton hasn’t yet been the happiest hunting ground for Billy Walk On, who has been pulled up twice here across country, but he was second in the one-off five-star at Bicton in 2021 and eighth at Burghley last year with a double jumping clear. Pippa is rarely competitive at one-day events, but she can spring a surprise at the big ones.

    85. Tim Price
    44, NZL

    Coup De Coeur Dudevin, 11 b g, Top Gun Semilly x Leprince Des Bois, Jean-Louis Stauffer

    Originally produced by Chris Burton, this horse was then ridden by Tim’s wife Jonelle, with Tim taking over last year. The pair were second at Millstreet CCI4*-L and then won Maryland on the horse’s five-star debut. He’s still inexperienced, but no five-star winner should be ruled out of contention and world number one Tim is on the form of his life.

    For similar details on every Badminton Horse Trials rider and horse, plus score sheets to fill in as the week progresses, buy this week’s magazine, out Thursday 4 May or pick up a free copy from the organisers’s office or on site box office at Badminton.

    How to watch Badminton Horse Trials

    If you are interested in watching Badminton Horse Trials live from the comfort of your home, wherever you are in the world, you will need to subscribe to Badminton TV. To sign up, visit watch.badminton-horse.tv – click the “Sign Up” link in the top right corner of your screen, then follow the instructions. An annual subscription to Badminton TV costs £19.99 and gives you 365 days of access to all of the content in the Badminton TV library, the ability to watch the action live, and the option to replay all of this year’s action later.

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