Badminton entries: defending champions return but Funnell and Fox-Pitt on wait-list

  • Eight riders who have won the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials previously are entered for this year’s event (2-6 May), but two of them will have to climb from the wait-list to get a chance to run.

    The previous winners safely on the accepted entries list are: Sam Griffiths (Paulank Brockagh), Paul Tapner (Bonza King Of Rouges), Oliver Townend (who will have to choose two of his four entries, MHS King Joules, Cooley Master Class, Ballaghmor Class and Cooley SRS), Michael Jung (La Biosthetique-Sam FBW), Andrew Nicholson (Jet Set IV and Nereo) and Mark Todd (Kiltubrid Rhapsody and Leonidas II).

    William Fox-Pitt (winner in 2004 and 2015) and Pippa Funnell (2002, 2003 and 2005) are both on the wait-list, which will surprise some fans, but their rides Fernhill Pimms and Billy Beware do not have much recent international form, which is the basis on which Badminton does its ballot.

    The event accepts the horses with the most FEI points won in the past two years and then wait-lists the rest in points order. Wait-listed horses replace those withdrawn until 2pm on the Sunday before the event. Billy Beware is seventh on the list and Fernhill Pimms is 13th. Badminton has never accepted fewer than 14 horses from the wait-list, so it is highly likely William and Pippa will be able to compete.

    First-timers and crowd favourites

    Eight British first-timers are among the entrants, the most-watched of whom will be former young rider European champion and H&H young rider of the year Will Furlong. He brings forward the grey mare Collien P2. The other home side debutants are Ashley Edmond (Triple Chance II), Alicia Hawker (Charles RR), Kate Honey (Fernhill Now Or Never), Georgie Strang (Cooley Earl), Alexander Whewall (Charkiris Star), Imogen Gloag (Brendonhill Doublet, wait-listed) and Kirsty Short (Cossan Lad, wait-listed).

    Among the strong British entries are Olympian Gemma Tattersall (Arctic Soul and Pamero 4), European team gold medallist Ros Canter (Allstar B) and Burghley runner-up Piggy French (Vanir Kamira).

    Fans will be delighted to see Laura Collett back at Badminton, with Mr Bass, as well as Ben Hobday, who is eighth on the wait-list with the great character Mulrys Error.

    Lissa Green, who made her Badminton debut last year for Britain, will represent Australia this year, riding Hollyfield, having made the decision to change nationality earlier this year.

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    One hundred and two horses were entered for Badminton this year, a relatively small entry compared to some years. Of these, 88 have been accepted, but the maximum starting field will be 85 — the extra three account for the fact two of Oliver’s horses must be withdrawn as must one of Tina Cook’s three entries (Star Witness, Calvino II and Billy The Red). Fourteen horses have been placed on the wait-list, which ranks alongside 2015 as the joint-smallest wait-list in the 11-year history of this system being used.

    Riders from 14 nations are on the list for Badminton, with riders from Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Spain, Italy, Japan and Sweden expected to line up, as well as strong contingents from Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, France and the USA. Michael Jung is the only German rider entered.

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