Michael and Sam make history at memorable Badminton Horse Trials

May 31 2016

HISTORY was made at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials when Michael Jung became 2016 champion - a victory that also secured the elusive £240,000 Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing.

Michael Jung

HISTORY was made at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials when Michael Jung became 2016 champion - a victory that also secured the elusive £240,000 Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing.
Jung led from start to finish with La Biosthetique Sam to complete on the lowest ever score at Badminton of just 34.4 penalties.
He was also the first German to take the Badminton title in its 67-year history on only his second visit to the prestigious event.
The Jung factor had helped produce even bigger than ever crowds of spectators keen to see the sport’s world number one - the only eventer to have held Olympic (London 2012), world and European championship titles all at the same time.
They were treated to a display of horsemanship that earned Jung, 33, and 16-year-old Sam a standing ovation when the event reached its climax in the showjumping arena, having already made their mark in the dressage phase and across a tough cross-country track that had taken its toll.
Having achieved the best dressage score on day one, they kept a clean sheet during the rest of the challenge, jumping clear and within the time across country and over the showjumping fences.
After receiving the Badminton trophy from the Duchess of Cornwall and the Rolex award, Jung said: “This is a very special moment for me. My horse is amazing and very special to me. I am very proud of him.”
The Grand Slam recognises riders who win the big three international horse trials - Badminton and Burghley in the UK and the USA’s Kentucky - consecutively but has only ever been won once before, by Britain’s Pippa Funnell in 2003.
Jung said after winning Burghley last autumn, despite a broken ankle, and Kentucky in the spring, the Grand Slam was in his mind but he had tried to make Badminton as “normal” a competition as possible to avoid increased pressure.
Taking the Badminton runner-up slot was Jung’s compatriot Andreas Osholt on So Is Et, with Britain’s Gemma Tattersall third on Arctic Soul.
New Zealanders filled the next three places - Mark Todd on Leonidas II, Clarke Johnstone on Balmoral Sensation and Jock Paget on Clifton Lush - with GB’s Kristina Cook seventh on Star Witness and Izzy Taylor eighth on Allercombe Ellie. Zara Tindall earned a qualification for the Rio Olympics by completing with High Kingdom.
But there were a number of cross-country falls, including one for Bristol’s Dani Evans from Raphael II and Emily King (daughter of Team GB veteran Mary) with Brookleigh. Evans did finish on her second horse, Smart Time.
Photos courtesy of: Mitsubishi Motors/Kit Houghton