Last year’s winner is one of two mares who will be having a crack at achieving a second win at the event, the other being Sam Griffiths’ ride Paulank Brockagh, who was victorious in 2014.
Five other riders who have won Badminton are in this year’s field — Mark Todd (NZB Campino), Andrew Nicholson (Swallow Springs), William Fox-Pitt (Oratorio II and Little Fire), Pippa Funnell (Billy Beware, Majas Hope, Billy Walk On and MGH Grafton Street) and Oliver Townend (Ulises, Cillnabradden Evo, Cooley Master Class and Ballaghmor Class). Oliver and Pippa will have to select their final runners nearer the time, as each rider can only pilot two horses at the event.
Britain’s gold medallists from last year’s World Equestrian Games (WEG) will be out in force — Tom McEwen brings forward his WEG horse Toledo De Kerser, as does Gemma Tattersall with Arctic Soul. She also rides last year’s Pau runner-up Pamero 4. Piggy French will ride Vanir Kamira. Tina Cook, who was an individual at WEG, has three horses entered in Billy The Red, Star Witness and Calvino II, although Calvino II is near the bottom of the waiting list so Tina may not have the option of running him.
Nicola Wilson is entered on her 2017 European individual bronze medallist Bulana.
WEG individual medallists Padraig McCarthy (Ireland) and Ingrid Klimke (Germany) will line up on the horses they piloted to glory in Tryon — Mr Chunky and SAP Hale Bob OLD. Just one other German is entered, Kai Rüder on Colani Sunrise. Double Olympic champion Michael Jung is absent from the Gloucestershire showpiece this year .
Fans will also be keen to see Emily King, who will be having her second start at the event and will ride Dargun, and Laura Collett with the popular Mr Bass.
British first-timers in the line-up include David Britnell (Continuity), Emily Parker (Cryptonite) and Millie Dumas (Artistiek).
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Badminton attracted 114 entries this year (up from 102 last year) and as usual, has accepted the horses with the most FEI points won at four- and five-star (previously three and four-star) events over the past two years.
The eventual starting field will be no more than 85, but 90 horses have been accepted to account for those which are double entered (where a rider has more than two horses on the list, but will have to choose their two runners by Wednesday, 1 May at the latest).
Twenty-four horses are on the waiting list and they will replace those who withdraw up until 2pm on the Sunday before the event. Since the waiting list system was brought in in 2008, the number of horses accepted from the waiting list has varied between 14 and 43.
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