Can the maths tell us who is going to win Badminton Horse Trials 2022, presented by Mars Equestrian? Data analytics company EquiRatings have crunched the numbers and predicted Laura Collett and London 52 as the pre-event favourites.
The EquiRatings prediction centre has simulated the competition 10,000 times and pulled Laura Collett and her Tokyo Olympic team gold medal winner as the most likely on paper to lift the new Badminton trophy with a 15% win chance.
But with horses, ever predictable in their unpredictability, maths is only ever part of the full equation.
That same statistic flipped gives other competitors an 85% chance of victory.
“It is a wide open field,” says Nicole Brown, of EquiRatings. “To put that into context, last week in Kentucky, Michael Jung and FischerChipmunk FRH went into the competition with nearly a 40% win chance. So just putting that into context, we have two very different five-star fields.
“Laura Collett is the favourite on paper, but it is wide open.
“You’re looking at the likes of Oliver Townend and Ballaghmor Class, he has a 100% cross-country clear rate at five-star with seven clears from seven runs. The horse has been to five star seven times and has never been out of the top five. That’s absolutely extraordinary. And you’ve got some really good combinations from other countries as well.”
The British Tokyo team fill the top three places in EquiRatings’ win predictions. Oliver and Ballaghmor Class start with a 12% chance of victory, according to EquiRatings’ calculations, and Tom McEwen and Toledo De Kerser allocated a 9% win chance.
EquiRatings’ analysis puts Badminton as the most competitive gathering of five-star horses on record, from 2015 to 2022. Those statistics also include Olympic Games and World Championships.
This year’s field include the seven different British riders who won a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics and European Championships in 2021, six of whom are here on their gold medal-winning horses.
Looking at cross-country clear rates, the global average is one in two horses jump clear across country at five-star level. But this year’s Badminton start list features two on the elite list of horses who have had more than five runs at five star and a 100% clear rate.
One of those is Ballagmor Class, the other is the 2018 winner Classic Moet, who has an astonishing 10 five-star cross-country jumping clears and will go for number 11 on Saturday with rider Jonelle Price for New Zealand.
“It is an exceptionally strong field and whoever wins here this weekend will have won a proper five-star,” adds Nicole.
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