Ros Canter triumphs at Badminton with huge winning margin on ‘ultimate event horse’

  • Ros Canter produced an exhibition of eventing excellence on Lordships Graffalo to top the leaderboard in the 2023 Badminton Horse Trials results, at the event presented by Mars Equestrian.

    She triumphed by 15pen – the largest winning margin since the days of eventing’s traditional long format, when the sport included roads and tracks and steeplechase. She was joined on the podium by Oliver Townend (Ballaghmor Class) and Austin O’Connor, who switched placings in the showjumping phase.

    Watch Ros speak after her Badminton victory

    Ros had plenty of wriggle room as she rode into the main arena with four fences in hand over Oliver after Austin had two down. The 2018 world champion jumped clear with 1.6 time-faults to claim her first Badminton title.

    “People say it’s fulfilling a dream, but I don’t know if I even dreamt I could do it,” said Ros. “It will take a long time to sink in.

    “I felt very un-calm and uncool when I came into the arena, but Lordships Graffalo jumped really well outside so that gave me confidence and I knew I could take my time.”

    Ros paid tribute to her amazing partner, Michele Saul’s 11-year-old Lordships Graffalo.

    “He’s the ultimate event horse; it’s what he lives and breathes for. He’s a busy little character when he’s not being ridden, so this job fits him perfectly.

    “It’s a bit of a relief as well, I’m extremely excited for everyone who has put so much into my career so far. It takes an army.”

    Badminton Horse Trials results: an outstanding win

    Ros Canter held the lead from the outset on Lordships Graffalo. They scored 22.1 in the dressage phase, and clocked the second-fastest time over a demanding cross-country track to stay in pole position overnight.

    The early riders found Kelvin Bywater’s track testing, with none in the first 10 managing to go clear inside the 85sec optimum time. Tom McEwen and Tom Jackson were the only two riders in the field to make it round clear inside the time for eventual fourth and fifth.

    Ros had earlier jumped a tidy round on Pencos Crown Jewel, who was lying seventh before this phase, lowering two fences later on in the course to finish ninth.

    “I had the benefit of going round on my earlier horse,” Ros said, “so that kept me busy which was a good thing.”

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