Seven former winners head up entries for Badminton Horse Trials

  • Seven riders who have won the event previously – but no horses – are among this year’s Mars Badminton Horse Trials entries for the event from 8–12 May.

    Former winners Ros Canter, on her own and Alex Moody’s Izilot DHI, last year’s Pau Horse Trials winner, and Piggy March – whose ride Brookfield Inocent (owned by John and Chloe Perry and Alison Swinburn) was a European individual silver medallist before he had some time out with injury – will start among the favourites.

    Oliver Townend has three horses on the list but they are double entered so he will only start on two. His best chance of a second Badminton title lies with the vastly experienced Ballaghmor Class, owned by Angela Hislop, Val Ryan and Karyn Shuter.

    The other past victors lining up are Laura Collett, who brings forward five-star debutants in Yvonne Ferguson’s Bling and Lucy Helson’s Hester, William Fox-Pitt on Amanda Gould’s 2023 Maryland 5 Star runner-up Grafennacht, Pippa Funnell with five-star stalwart Majas Hope (owned by his rider and Marek Sebestak) and last year’s Bramham Horse Trials winner MCS Maverick (owned by Nick and Sarah Ross), and New Zealand’s Jonelle Price on 2022 Pau winner Grappa Nera, who is owned by Jonelle and The Grape Syndicate.

    Other ones to watch include Jonelle’s husband Tim Price on the Giannamores’ Vitali, who has had three top-seven finishes at five-star and the USA’s Boyd Martin with 2021 Maryland 5 Star winner On Cue and former Kentucky runner-up Tsetserleg TSF, both owned by the Turner family with Boyd also having a share in On Cue.

    Riders from 11 different countries have entered Badminton, including one apiece for Belgium, Canada, Switzerland, Sweden and Lithuania, as well as competitors from Australia, France, Ireland, New Zealand and the USA.

    The Irish challenge will be led by Sam Watson on SAP Talisman (owned by Sam, his wife Hannah and mother Julia), 13th at Burghley Horse Trials last year, and Sarah Ennis with Peter Cole and Susanna Francke’s Grantstown Jackson, whose impressive pathfinding round at last year’s European Championships caught the eye.

    Georgie Goss (née Spence), who has completed Badminton eight times for Britain, will pilot Feloupe (owned by her rider, Suzanne Doggett and Lucy Fleming) as she makes her first start at the Gloucestershire five-star under the Irish flag, having declared for that nation in March 2023.

    There is a small wait-list for this year’s event.

    Badminton Horse Trials entries: notable absentees

    A number of top combinations are absent from the start list, which is particularly common in an Olympic year when riders prioritise the Games and some choose to campaign at CCI4*-Ss in the build-up rather than going to a spring five-star.

    The past two winners of Badminton, Michele Saul’s Lordships Graffalo (Ros Canter) and London 52 – owned by his rider Laura Collett, Karen Bartlett and Keith Scott – are not entered this year, nor is last year’s European individual silver medallist Vendredi Biats (Kitty King), owned by Diana Bown, John Eyre, Sally Lloyd-Baker and Samantha Wilson.

    Other British riders will make the trip to Defender Kentucky Three-Day Event (25–28 April) two weeks before Badminton, including Tom McEwen, the individual silver medallist at the last Olympics, and his potential Paris ride JL Dublin.

    How to watch Badminton Horse Trials

    If you are interested in watching the live action from Badminton Horse Trials from the comfort of your home, wherever you are in the world, you will need to subscribe to Badminton TV. To sign up, visit watch.badminton-horse.tv – click the “Sign Up” link in the top right corner of your screen, then follow the instructions. An annual subscription to Badminton TV costs £19.99 via the website and gives you 365 days of access to all of the content in the Badminton TV library, the ability to watch the action live, and the option to replay all of this year’s action later. Find out more…

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