Rio games in sight for Olympic hopefuls at Badminton Horse Trials

May 03 2016

OLYMPIC hopefuls will be in action at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials as the prestigious competition opens with less than 100 days to go until the Rio games.

Badminton Horse Trials

OLYMPIC hopefuls will be in action at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials as the prestigious competition opens with less than 100 days to go until the Rio games.
Big names in the world of eventing are among the 85-strong field set to do battle in the dressage, cross-country and showjumping phases from May 5-8.
But last year’s champion, William Fox-Pitt, has withdrawn Parklane Hawk after a disappointing outing at a recent competition.
Had he been able to try and defend his title - won in 2015 on Chilli Morning - it would have been a remarkable achievement for Fox-Pitt after he sustained a head injury in a fall last autumn and spent weeks in hospital.
However, another rider who has defied the odds is set to ride. New Zealander Andrew Nicholson, who has completed Badminton a record 35 times but not yet won, received a serious neck injury in a fall last summer, resulting in hours of delicate surgery.
In 98 per cent of cases involving that type of injury, the person would have been paralysed. But the Kiwi returned to competing this season and will rely on Nereo at Badminton, having recently retired the popular grey Avebury.
Reigning Olympic champion, Germany’s Michael Jung, is likely to start as favourite with his London 2012 ride La Biosthetique Sam.
But his compatriot Ingrid Klimke is on top form, while past winners returning include New Zealand’s Mark Todd and Jock Paget, along with Australia’s Sam Griffiths. Husband and wife team Tim and Jonelle Price are also expected to put in solid performances.
The Queen will be following the progress of her granddaughter, Zara Tindall, who rides her London Games horse High Kingdom, while other leading British riders include Nicola Wilson, Tina Cooke, Pippa Funnell, Oliver Townend and Izzy Taylor.
Crowd favourite and past winner Mary King is without a top horse but her daughter Emily makes her Badminton debut on Brookleigh. Dani Evans, who lives near Pensford, will also be looking for good performances from her two entries, Raphael and Smart Time.
Badminton will also host the Mitsubishi Motors Cup for amateur riders on May 3 and 4.
Pictured above: Badminton Horse Trials cross-country course designer Giuseppe Della Chiesa (left) with trials director Hugh Thomas at The Lake fence.
Picture courtesy of Chas Breton