Top title contender withdrawn from Badminton, plus Oliver Townend narrows down his rides

  • Piggy March’s ride Brookfield Inocent is among the latest Badminton Horse Trials withdrawals, in the final build-up to next week’s event presented by Mars Equestrian (4-8 May).

    The 13-year-old owned by Alison Swinburn and John and Chloe Perry would have started as one of the favourites at the Gloucestershire five-star, but Piggy reports that he has “a very small injury”.

    He was a European team gold and individual silver medallist last autumn and had shown good form this spring, winning the CCI4*-S at Thoresby and finishing third at the same level at Burnham Market.

    “Obviously I am gutted for ‘Arthur’, his owners John and Chloe Perry and Alison Swinburn, myself and all the team,” said Piggy.

    “To have a horse like him at Badminton is the dream for all of us and he was in the form of his life. We’re all gutted he won’t get his chance this time, but we all know the ups and downs that horses and eventing throw at us and it is only a small setback so we look forward to his return soon.”

    Piggy will still start on Trevor Dickens’ Vanir Kamira, with whom she won the event in 2019.

    Oliver Townend has withdrawn two of his five entered horses, which narrows his choices down to three rides, of which he can only compete two.

    He has withdrawn Angela Hislop’s Cooley Master Class and Sophie Adams’ Ridire Dorcha, leaving Ballaghmor Class (who belongs to Angela, Karyn Shuter and Val Ryan), the Ridgeons’ Swallow Springs and the Hazeldines and Mitchell Fox Group’s Tregilder in the mix.

    Harry Meade has withdrawn Tenareze, owned by David Bernstein, Sophie Caruth and Nigella Hall. This means Harry’s rides will be Cavalier Crystal and Away Cruising, both owned by Charlotte Opperman.

    Other recent Badminton Horse Trials withdrawals are SCEA Ecurie D’Albigny Equi France’s Troubadour Camphoux, ridden by France’s Luc Chateau, and Calmaro, who is owned by Claire and Charlie Mayne, Joseph Murphy and Annette O’Callaghan and ridden for Ireland by Joseph. The grey starts at this week’s Kentucky Three-Day Event instead.

    Retirement beckons for one Badminton Horse Trials withdrawal

    Berkshire-based New Zealand rider Samantha Lissington has also withdrawn Ricker Ridge Rui from the waiting list and announced the retirement from top-level eventing of this 14-year-old, who is owned by his rider, her husband Brayden and Christine and Ken Quigley. A routine check-up revealed he had sustained an injury on the cross-country at Burnham Market earlier this month.

    “He leaves behind a huge hole in our team and we will miss his big-white-path-finding-nose on cross-country day terribly,” she said in a tribute on Facebook.

    Brookfield Inocent, Troubadour Camphoux and Calmaro are all replaced from the waiting list, but Oliver and Harry’s horses are not because the entries list already takes into account that the riders who have double-entered rides will only start on two of them.

    So these recent Badminton Horse Trials withdrawals mean three more pairs have been accepted into the main draw from the waiting list: the home side’s Izzy Taylor and Sara and Tom Strong’s Artful Trinity, plus two for France – Arthur Duffort with his own, Julie and Paul Gatien Toronto D’Aurois and Ugo Provasi with Sophie Bonduelle and his own Shadd’oc.

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