Star Olympic riders and horses head for Badminton Horse Trials

March 27 2017

RIO Olympic gold medallist Michael Jung heads a high class field heading for the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials.

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RIO Olympic gold medallist Michael Jung heads a high class field heading for the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials.

The popular German rider will be defending his first Badminton title, which he won last year in front of huge crowds on La Biosthetique Sam.

Jung will again be partnered by Sam, considered by many to be the best cross-country horse competing at the moment.

Other Rio stars tackling Badminton include silver medallist Astier Nicolas, of France, and Australia’s Chris Burton.

A total of seven past winners return, among them Mark Todd for New Zealand, GB’s Pippa Funnell and Oliver Townend and Australia’s Sam Griffiths.

New Zealand’s Andrew Nicholson will be looking for this first win having completed a record 35 times, while British hopes can also lie with the likes of Nicola Wilson, Tina Cook and Kitty King.

A total of 85 horses with the most points won in top international competition over the past two years have been accepted for the event, leaving 36 on the waiting list.

The event starts with the Mitsubishi Motors Cup for amateur riders on Wednesday, May 3, followed by the main feature - two days of international event dressage, cross country on Saturday, May 6, and show jumping on Sunday, May 7.

Meanwhile, there is only a short time left to buy advance tickets for personal admission, car passes and the campsite, with the deadline set for Monday, April 24.

However, spectators can still pay for admission on the gate when the event is running, although prices will be higher.

The 2017 cross-country course is being designed for the first time by Eric Winter after Giuseppe Della Chiesa announced after the completion of the 2016 trials that he was standing down from the position after just three years.

Mr Winter used to live in Yatton, near Bristol, before taking on Severnvale Equestrian Centre, Chepstow, with his wife, Lizzel.