A new Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials record was set this morning (2 May), when Oliver Townend and Cillnabradden Evo scored the lowest ever dressage mark here of 19.7. They hold the dressage lead after the first morning session.
Oliver and the 13-year-old, owned by Sally-Ann Eggerton had one mark of 6.5, but the rest were all 7+, including 11 8.5s, four nines and two 10s, which both came for the final halt.
“I’ve had this horse a while and I know him inside out,” said Oliver. “So far, so good.”
Oliver’s record beats the one set by Andrew Hoy in 2000 aboard Darien Powers when they scored 20.5.
Australia’s Chris Burton is in second aboard his own and the Graf Liberty Syndicate’s, Graf Liberty. They scored 27.7, so sit some eight penalties behind Oliver at the moment.
“I was really pleased with him as that score was the one I was punching for — ideally I wanted something between 25 and 30,” explained Chris. “He can find flying-changes difficult, but the movement in this test suits him for two of the flying-changes, going from extended canter, to collected and then the change. To be fair, he didn’t do much wrong.”
William Fox-Pitt and the 10-year-old Badminton first-timer Little Fire are in third on a score of 29.2.
“I’m very pleased as he’s new to this level and apart from the last flying-change which we muddled, he didn’t really do anything wrong,” said William. “I think the judges were actually a bit stingey with their marks for him.”
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Pippa Funnell and Izzy Taylor share fourth on Majas Hope and Call Me Maggie May respectively on a score of 31. While Emily King is sixth on 31.6 with Dargun.
The dressage continues after the lunch break, resuming at 2pm.
Pick up this week’s magazine (dated 2 May) for the full H&H Badminton form guide and check back to the H&H website for more dressage news and rider’s thoughts on the cross-country course