Priceless victory for Jonelle and Classic Moet at Badminton Horse Trials
JONELLE Price became the first woman to win the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials for 11 years after a masterclass performance with the mare Classic Moet.
Girl power won the day at the international, where huge crowds followed the action from the opening dressage phase to the testing cross-country course and finally over the deciding showjumping track.
It was a first Badminton title for Price and her first win at the highest four-star level of the sport, coming just ten months after having her baby son Otis.
But the event’s outcome went right to the wire, with Price’s outstanding cross-country round in the fastest time of the day giving her the lead before the showjumping.
While matching Oliver Townend and Ballaghmore Class on 28 penalties, Price gained the advantage due to being closest to the cross-country optimum time.
With no room for showjumping errors, she and Classic Moet rattled several poles but jumped clear to maintain their position.
Price said: “I’d wondered if winning a four-star was ever going to happen and to do it at Badminton is so great. Classic Moet is such a deserving winner.”
Townend and Ballaghmore Class had two showjumps down to drop to fifth place but a clear round on his second ride Cooley SRS rocketed that horse into the runner-up slot.
British team member Ros Canter was third on Allstar B, with Gemma Tattersall and Arctic Soul in fourth place.
Badminton 2016 winners, the reigning Olympic champion Michael Jung and La Biosthetique Sam, were tenth in the horse’s last Badminton appearance.
Price, a West Country-based New Zealander, had only been in 22nd place after the dressage phase, where a change to the scoring meant positions were tighter and there was a greater emphasis on cross-country performances.
But after weeks of rain and with a rising temperature, the ground was tacky and tiring, with no combinations getting round Eric Winter’s cross-country track within the time allowed.
Of 78 starters, South Gloucestershire’s Harry Meade finished 16th with Away Cruising, while Bristol’s Dani Evans was 17th on Smart Time. Lissa Green, daughter of six-time Badminton winner Lucinda Green, completed with Hollyfield, a horse part-owned by Thornbury’s former Olympic rowing star Alison Gill.
* CONTROVERSY surrounded the cross-country riding of Oliver Townend on both of his horses, with officials of the sport’s governing body, the FEI, giving him an official warning regarding his over-use of the whip.
In an apology, Townend said: “I’m so disappointed and upset about the way I rode. It didn’t look good and I don’t want to look like that. My competitive instincts got the better of me and I will work hard to improve in this area.”
But the British Horse Society, which promotes the prevention of cruelty and harm to horses and was Badminton’s official charity of the year, said it would raise its concerns with the FEI.
Gemma Stanford, its director of welfare, said: “The behaviour displayed by Oliver Townend was completely unacceptable. We strongly believe that the sanctions given to Mr Townend by the FEI were not high enough in this particular case.”