New Zealand rider Jonelle said in a statement: “Sadly we have made the tough decision this morning to withdraw Classic Moet from Badminton Horse Trials. We have struggled with her feet in this unseasonably dry spring and it’s no secret she likes a bit of rain.
“I was very much looking forward to defending our title, but it’s obviously not meant to be this time around. Wishing all the competitors and connections the very best of luck, I’ll be there to cheer you all on! Tim — it’s all down to you to keep the trophy with Team Price now, no pressure.”
Jonelle’s husband Tim rides Ringwood Sky Boy — last year’s Burghley winner — and Bango at Badminton this week.
Willa Newton has also withdrawn Chance Remark, owned by Jenny Leslie, Feena Machin, Peter Thomas and Christina Thompson.
“‘Austen’ sadly isn’t quite right and so we have had to make the difficult decision to withdraw him,” said the young British rider. “It’s so very hard at this late stage, but he always comes first and it is so important that he was in the best possible shape for this week.
“I am so very gutted for his supportive owners Peter Thomas, Feena Machin, Christina Thompson and Jenny Leslie and for my whole team who have worked so hard to get there, Janet [Willis, head groom] who has done everything to get back in time and everyone who helps and supports us all to make it possible.”
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The cut-off for horses to be accepted from the waiting list was 2pm yesterday, so no more pairs will now join the start list. This means the field will now be 83 horses, pending any further withdrawals before the start of the event.
Full Badminton form guide in the issue of Horse & Hound magazine on sale on Thursday (dated 2 May).