Favourite withdrawn from Badminton as waiting list closed; 19-year-old horse accepted to start

Germany’s Ingrid Klimke has withdrawn SAP Hale Bob OLD from next week’s Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials (1-5 May), which is dramatic news as this pair were favourites to win the competition.

“Unfortunately in the last few days SAP Hale Bob OLD has not been himself — he’s just not as energetic and fit as I am used to with him,” said Ingrid. “In order to avoid any potential risk for Bobby I have made the disappointing decision to stay home this year.”

The waiting list has also now closed. The Badminton ballot is done according to horse’s FEI points won at the higher levels over the past two years and those on the waiting list replace any horses who are withdrawn up until 2pm the Sunday before the event.

Fifteen horses were accepted from the waiting list this time, with three horses withdrawn from the waiting list and six still on the list, who will not be able to start the event.

The final horse accepted from the waiting list was Pennlands Douglas, a second ride for first-timer Emma Hyslop-Webb.

Another late acceptance was 19-year-old King Eider, who will make his fourth assault on the event with Scottish rider Louisa Milne Home. He has completed on every attempt, with 29th in 2014 his best placing.

“King Eider has been feeling amazing this year and I would have been really disappointed if he hadn’t got in as he loves a big party,” Louisa told H&H. “It’s going to be a full on couple of days just to get in all the polishing touches to make sure he is all set.

“At the start of the year we just wanted to see how he felt as at 19 he doesn’t have to do another Badminton, but he has felt so good and has really enjoyed all his preparation that it was getting very stressful watching the wait list, as again at his age you don’t want to put on any unnecessary miles on to him.

“I’m so pleased to have him in, but sad to see others with Scottish connections lose out — Nicky, Emily and Caroline have all spent lots of time on the Scottish circuit,” added Louisa, referring to withdrawal of Nicky Ronocoroni, Emily Parker and Caroline Powell.

Other recent acceptances from the waiting list include US rider Savannah (known as “Woodge”) Fulton on Captain Jack, and home side riders Matthew Heath (The Lion) and Becky Woolven (Charlton Down Riverdance).

Recent withdrawals besides Ingrid have come from New Zealand’s Caroline Powell with On The Brash and France’s Regis Prud’hon with Kaiser HDB 4175.

Those who remain on the waiting list and so have missed out on a chance to start at Badminton include H&H blogger Nana Dalton (Absolut Opposition).

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Pippa Funnell and Oliver Townend still have more than two horses entered, but they can only bring two horses to the event and present two at the first horse inspection on Wednesday. Pippa has to pick between Majas Hope, Billy Beware, Billy Walk On and MGH Grafton Street, while Oliver must pick from Ballaghmor Class, Cillnabradden Evo and Ulises.

Check back for more updates on Badminton online all this week. Full form guide in Horse & Hound magazine this Thursday (2 May issue) and report the following week (9 May issue).

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