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Five-star winner plus top-level stalwart among horses on Badminton wait list


  • The Mars Badminton Horse Trials wait list has just three horses on it following the reveal of entries for this year’s event (8-12 May) – and one is a five-star winner.

    Badminton accepts 85 entries each year and wait lists the rest in order of FEI points won at top-level events over the past two years. Wait-listed pairs replace those who withdraw until 2pm on the Sunday before the event. This year, 90 horses were entered for the event. Of those, 87 have been accepted because two riders have “double-entered” – Oliver Townend has entered three horses but will only run a maximum of two and Kirsty Chabert has entered two but will only start on one.

    That leaves three horses on the wait list, who are almost certain to be offered the chance to run – since the waiting list system was brought in in 2008, between 14 and 43 have been accepted from it in the years when there has been a wait list (there was no waiting list last year; all those entered were accepted straight away).

    Top of the list on FEI points – but actually last to be accepted – is Harry Meade’s Away Cruising, owned by Jane Dear and Charlotte Opperman. Away Cruising is a five-star stalwart, with three finishes at Badminton and three at Burghley Horse Trials to his name.

    Harry is in the main draw on Cavalier Crystal, who was third at Burghley Horse Trials last year, and Red Kite. This means Harry may well line up on three horses, a new situation for 2024 as in recent years competitors have only been allowed to ride a maximum of two horses at Badminton. Harry will only have final permission to start on a third horse once all the other horses on the wait list have been accepted, but this should be a formality.

    Second on the wait list, so first to be accepted, is Neil Record’s 18-year-old mare DHI Babette K, who completed Badminton in 2022 with Becky Heappey, but did not event last year.

    The third horse on the Badminton Horse Trials wait list is Chris Stone’s Chilli Knight, ridden by Gemma Stevens, whose position on the wait list can be attributed to the fact he has had some time on the sidelines since he won the one-off five-star at Bicton Horse Trials in 2021.

    Gemma also has Jalapeno entered for Badminton and data analytics company EquiRatings give her a 7% chance of winning on her, alongside Oliver Townend and Ballaghmor Class and behind only Piggy March (Brookfield Inocent) at 19% and Ros Canter (Izilot DHI) at 16%.

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