London 52 withdrawn
They would have been favourites to retain their Badminton Horse Trials crown but Olympic team gold medallists Laura Collett and London 52 will not be starting at the event, presented by Mars Equestrian, next month. Laura confirmed yesterday that the 14-year-old gelding had suffered a setback in his preparation and so would not compete.
A new-look course
Riders and spectators are promised a new-look cross-country course at Badminton this year. The team behind the event has unveiled Eric Winter’s track, which this year takes in a new “undulating” area of Badminton park. A spokesman for the event said the possibility to switch the direction of the track – this year it will run clockwise – offers great opportunities. “When you have such expectations, and large crowds, not to mention the thousands watching around the world, you have to try and provide something new every year,” said Eric. “The advantage here is being able to run a different competition each time.”
“Changes must be made” is the message after three horses died during the Grand National meeting, as the authorities pledge to analyse the races in “painstaking detail”. Hill Sixteen suffered an “unrecoverable injury” in a fall at the first National fence on 15 April. Dark Raven was put down after a fall in the Turners Mersey Novices’ Hurdle the same day, and Envoye Special suffered a fatal injury in the Foxhunters Chase on 13 April.
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