Is this going to go down as one of the greatest Badminton’s of all time? With some spine tingling displays in the dressage, out pourings of emotion from riders and one hell of a cross country day, Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials 2017 is shaping up to be one of the greatest 4* competitions we’ve seen in some time.
With the dressage leaderboard receiving a major shakeup, this new Eric Winter track has created a proper eventing test, with all three phases looking to be very influential.
With dressage leader Chris Burton being one of many to fall foul to the Hildon Water Pond at 15, Graf Liberty falls 18 places down the leaderboard to sit just inside the top 20 in 19th.
Ingrid Klimke moves into the top spot, going into the third and final phase, with Horseware Hale Bob OLD, following a near perfect round across the country, accruing just 3.2 time to leave them on a two phase score of 39.6. Ever the gracious rider, Ingrid was quick to praise her fellow podium sitters, countryman Michael Jung and Andrew Nicholson.
“Firstly I want to thank these two guys, as I walked the course with Andrew and he really helped me a lot, and then I watched Michi, so went back and thought that’s how to do it.”
Despite making this challenging track look much more straight forward than the results would suggest, Ingrid added – “the course was tough and we really had to ride it…it was a real pleasure to ride him.”
Just 0.4 of a penalty splits the two leading German riders, with reigning Olympic, European, Badminton, Rolex and Rolex Grand Slam winner Michael Jung now sitting in 2nd place after an incredible round on La Biosthetique Sam FBW to be the first combination to complete within the time.
“That was a really tough course” added Michael in the end of day press conference, “It was one tough question after the next. It was very important to have every fence very correct and that you had a positive feeling from one to the next.”
Making it one of the tights Badminton final days for some time, Andrew Nicholson and Nereo edge ever closer to that elusive Badminton win, sitting just 0.4 behind Jung and 0.8 behind leader Ingrid Klimke, adding just 2.4 time penalties to move them up from 5th after the dressage.
“I thought walking it, it was a very good course. The sort of course you have to sit on your backside and work” commented Andrew. “We’ve had some courses at big events where experienced riders on experiences horses could glide around but here you had to work from fence 2.”
Class performance from Rosalind Canter and Allstar B see them move from 20th place after the dressage into 6th, going into the final phase and currently best British rider. However Oliver Townend, initially seeming to have a very below par Badminton, moves up 40 places with ODT Ghareeb following a flying cross country, adding just 5.2 time, to sit in 7th. Part time farrier, Alex Bragg remains in contention in 8th with British bred Zagreb.