William Fox-Pitt and Andrew Nicholson entered for Badminton Horse Trials

  • William Fox-Pitt and Andrew Nicholson, who suffered serious falls in the latter part of last season, have both entered the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials (4-8 May).

    Andrew plans to start on Avebury and Nereo — and also has back-up ride Qwanza on the wait-list — while William has only entered the former Burghley winner Parklane Hawk.

    Other notable entries include Zara Tindall (née Phillips) on High Kingdom and Germany’s Michael Jung on La Biosthetique-Sam FBW. A Badminton win is the only major accolade missing from Sam’s glittering CV, although the horse was second here in 2013.

    While Sam Griffiths’ ride Paulank Brockagh and Jock Paget’s Clifton Promise are the only horses entered who have previously won, there are five other riders listed who have taken the laurels here before: Paul Tapner, William, Pippa Funnell, Oliver Townend and Mark Todd.

    Seventeen first-timers have thrown their hats in the ring, with the British debutants accepted (rather than wait-listed) being Rosalind Canter, Emily Gilruth and Emily King, daughter of two-time Badminton winner Mary.

    A strong US contingent has entered Badminton — unusual in an Olympic year — including Buck (Bruce Jr) Davidson and Phillip Dutton. Phillip rides the former Paul Tapner mount Indian Mill, who was sold into US ownership just before the deadline for registering horses for this year’s Olympics.

    Three American first-timers are also listed: Libby Head (Sir Rockstar), Lynn Symansky (Donner) and Boyd Martin, who has a choice of four mounts including the former Ludwig Svennerstal horse Shamari 4.

    Will Alice Dunsdon get in?

    A total of 118 horses have been entered — 91 have been accepted and 27 are on the waiting list. The final field will be no more than 85, but five riders have more than three horses accepted and they can only start on two. This is halfway in between last year’s small entry of 104 and 2014’s 141.

    Horses are accepted into Badminton on the basis of which have won the most FEI points at three- and four-star level in the past two years, so the horses with most points are accepted and then the others are wait listed in points order.

    H&H blogger Alice Dunsdon, who will become the first person to complete all the world’s six four-stars on one horse if she can finish with Fernhill Present, is 22nd on the wait list. Over the past eight years between 15 and 43 horses have been accepted from the wait list, so it will be touch and go whether Alice can compete.

    Simon Grieve, who also blogs for H&H, is 10th on the wait list with the characterful Cornacrew, so has a good chance of making his Badminton debut.

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