New Zealand’s Jonathan (Jock) Paget kept his cool in a nail-biting final showjumping phase to win the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials on his first attempt.
Adding nothing to his dressage score of 39.7pen, Clifton Promise (pictured top) rose to the occasion and produced a brilliant double clear in the pressure cooker atmosphere of the main arena.
“I came here knowing I had two great horses and could win, but I didn’t think I would win,” said Jock. “At the past few four-stars I’ve made mistakes that lost me the win, but this time both horses did everything I asked and it turned out to be enough,”
Clifton Promise, a 15-year-old bay gelding by Engagement, improved on his second pace at Pau four-star last autumn and his 10th place at the London Olympics with one of his best jumping rounds of his career to secure the title.
Germany’s current Olympic, world and European champion, Michael Jung, looked to have the win sewn up until La Biosthetique-Sam FBW stroked the front rail of the final oxer, causing it to swing lazily in the cups, before belated falling to the ground.
A typically phlegmatic Michael said: “I don’t know what happened. I had a good line and rhythm and the pole goes down – that’s the sport.”
William Fox-Pitt’s attempt to claim the Rolex Grand Slam fell by the wayside when Parklane Hawk had the final element of the treble combination at fence 7 down. Andrew Nicholson fared better with a clear round on Nereo for eventual third, but had to rely on Michael and Jock to make mistakes to make his Rolex dream a reality.
“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being part of [the Rolex Grand Slam],” said Andrew. “It’s been exciting for it to go right down to the wire. Myself and William have done our bit and I think it’s been great for the sport.”
Fourteen horses jumped clear inside the time, with the first fence and the oxer at fence nine proving particularly influential. The time allowed was fairly tight, as you would expect at this level jumping on near perfect going, and 19 combinations collected time faults.
- Full report from Badminton Horse Trials in H&H magazine this Thursday (9 May), including comment from Judy Harvey, Ian Stark and Mark Phillips, fence-by-fence cross-country analysis and a very special cover.
Badminton Horse Trials 2013 results
1. Clifton Promise (Jonathan Paget) NZL 39.7
2. La Biosthetique-Sam FBW (Michael Jung) GER 40
3. Nereo (Andrew Nicholson) NZL 40.2
4. Opgun Louvo (Sandra Auffarth) GER 42.5
5. Parklane Hawk (William Fox-Pitt) 44
6. Apollo Van De Wendi Kurt Hoeve (Stefano Brecciaroli) ITA 46.8
7. Borough Pennyz (Vittoria Panizzon) ITA 47.3
8. Master Crusoe (Aoife Clark) IRL 47.6
9. Piaf De B’Neville (Astier Nicolas) FRA 49.3
10. Holstein Park Leilani (Christopher Burton) AUS 49.4