Despite a gruelling cross-country day on soggy going, 30 horses came forward for the Badminton Horse Trials final trot-up, at the event presented by Mars Equestrian. The field was already diminished by six withdrawals, 17 eliminations and 11 retirements but all 30 who completed the cross-country were presented to the ground jury – and passed. The original field was 64.
Remarkably, no horses were sent to the holding box. Typically during a three-day event, a proportion of the finishers are feeling the effects of their cross-country exertions and are withdrawn before the inspection. For others, the ground jury will want to take a second look and send them to the holding box for another trot. It is rare for all the cross-country finishers to present and to be accepted.
But all the horses look to have recovered well from the challenge of Eric Winter’s cross-country track on sticky going. Soft ground may be detrimental for fast rounds inside the time, but it is not jarring and this may well have contributed to the horses feeling strong after an overnight rest.
Ros Canter and Dan Jocelyn are the only riders left in the field with two horses in contention. Ros is the leader on Lordships Graffalo, with two fences in hand, and she is also seventh with Pencos Crown Jewel. Dan runs Cooley One Too Many and Blackthorn Cruise, currently placed 21st and 22nd.
Tim Price’s fourth-placed ride Vitali was again on his toes down the runway, cantering the first time, but was accepted. Lauren Innes’ Global Fision M (23rd) and Francis Whittington’s DHI Purple Rain (19th) also looked full of running after impressive clear rounds yesterday.
The showjumping runs in reverse order. The final three will be Oliver Townend on Ballaghmor Class, Austin O’Connor on Colorado Blue and Ros on Lordships Graffalo. Ros has two fences in hand over Austin, who is only 2.2pen ahead of Oliver.
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