‘I’m very lucky to be able to ride him’: Badminton first-timer impresses on cross-country day, rocketing him up the leaderboard

  • First-timer David Doel put in a class round aboard Galileo Nieuwmoed in the Badminton Horse Trials cross-country, finishing just three seconds over the optimum time to sit in 11th place going into the final showjumping phase. The pair are on a score of 32.4.

    “He’s a class horse and a lovely horse and I’m very lucky to be able to ride him. His owner Gillian Jonas has been a fantastic supporter of me,” said David after his round at the event, which is presented by Mars Equestrian. “He has a pretty cool gallop and he’s quite an enthusiast now – he used to take quite a lot of kicking but he was taking the bridle all the way today. I was really chuffed with the shape of his jump and how he kept jumping. We’ve done a lot of fitness work and Nick Turner has been instrumental in making sure that we do get him fit enough and it’s paid off.”

    There was one sticky moment for David and the 11-year-old though at the LeMieux Leap at fence 18ABC.

    “I saw a good stride to it and gave him the space that I wanted but he didn’t really like the stride I was going on,” explained David. “So he nipped in a little extra one and I had a bit of a sticky moment, but he was fab, stayed on a straight line for me and was mega.”

    New Zealand’s Tim Price and the 19-year-old Ringwood Sky Boy enjoyed a good skip around the Badminton Horse Trials cross-country track, which was designed by Eric Winter. They added 8.4 time-penalties to their 29.1 dressage and sit in 17th place after today.

    “You go in there with an injection of confidence in his ability and experience,” said Tim after his round. “He was great and he is what he is – he always wants to lengthen his stride so there’s often a bit of a tussle, but it’s a well-rehearsed tussle and I just have to mind him a little bit at the beginning of the course. I think that is what cost me the seconds I was hoping to gather up towards the end but unfortunately we weren’t able to today. I’m just really happy to have him home and healthy – he’s been such a great stalwart for me.”

    Pippa Funnell and MGH Grafton Street had a horse fall at fence five, the RDA Fundraiser, which was a log. Both horse and rider were reported to be OK.

    Read our full Badminton form guide in this week’s issue of Horse & Hound (issue dated 5 May 2022). Our bumper 20-page Badminton report will be in our 12 May issue and keep fully up-to-date with all the action during Badminton week via horseandhound.co.uk, where a host of features and reports will be published.

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