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Clutch of Kiwis to Tackle Badminton

Clutch of Kiwis to Tackle Badminton

All roads lead to Gloucestershire this week where 87 of the world’s best eventing combinations will battle it out for honours in the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials.

It is one of the big six CCI4* events on the global calendar – the highest rank of competition which carries with it prestige and honour, and £100,000 to the winner.

New Zealand’s eventers have rightly earned their place in the history of the event, and again this year there is a strong Kiwi contingent competing.

Sir Mark Todd has two on the card in Leonidas II and NZB Campino. The veteran who has won Badminton four times, including when on début, is looking forward to the event.

“The horses are all good,” he says. “Leonidas and Campino are both in very good form.”

With two entered, he was always going to have one very early, and he was probably hoping he would be a little further down the draw than second aboard Leonidas.

“I am looking forward to hopefully both of them putting up a good performance at Badminton this year,” he said.

Last year Todd and Leonidas were the best of the Kiwis in fourth place.

Andrew Nicholson also has two entered. The current world number four holds the record for the most Badminton completions but has yet to win it. He lines up on his Pau CCI4* winner Nereo, who was third at Badminton in 2013, twice second at Burghley and fourth individual at the London Olympic Games.

Qwanza is on début at Badminton but has previously competed at Kentucky and Luhmuhlen.

Dan Jocelyn and Dassett Cool Touch, who teamed up in 2015, competed last year at Badminton for 13th place.

Jesse Campbell and his former racehorse Kaapachino completed their first Badminton just last year, having made their CCI4* début at Luhmuhlen in 2015.

Caroline Powell, a member of the bronze medal-winning New Zealand teams at the London Olympic Games and FEI World Equestrian Games in 2010, last competed at Badminton in 2015. She’s no stranger to CCI4* competition and has competed at all the Northern Hemisphere biggies, including a win at Burghley aboard the mighty Lenamore in 2010.

Blyth Tait’s outing at Badminton in 2016 with Bear Necessity V was his first in 16 years. His list of achievements is long and impressive, and include double golds at the World Equestrian Games, individual gold at Olympic Games and much more. Like Todd, he too tried retirement but made his comeback in 2011.

Tim Price has competed at Badminton numerous times and continues to chase that elusive win. He has twice won the William Miflin Trophy at Badminton for the ride closest to the optimum time. This will be Xavier Faer’s first start at the event.

Defending champion Michael Jung (GER) is back again with La Biosthetique Sam FBW, and he’ll be riding a high after his victory at the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event at the weekend where he once again rewrote the history books.

Organisers are describing the cross country course as “back to the future”, resembling the swashbuckling tracks of the 1970s with the advantage of 21st century safety technology.

This year also marks the retirement of BBC commentator Mike Tucker, who has been behind the microphone for 40 years and a voice many would have heard at top events all over the globe.

The first horse inspection is on Wednesday, followed by two days of dressage, the cross country on Saturday and the showjumping on Sunday.

Badminton is also part of the FEI Classics Series which unites the six 4* eventing competitions around the world. The UK event is the fourth on the calendar, having been preceded by Les Etoiles de Pau (FRA) in October, the Australian International Three-Day Event (AUS) in November and the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event just last weekend. Following Badminton will be Luhmuhlen CCI4* (GER) in June and the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (GBR) in September.

The winner of the series wins $US40,000.

WHAT: Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials

WHEN: May 3-7, 2017

WHERE: South Gloucestershire, UK

FOR MORE INFO: www.badminton-horse.co.uk

The horse details -

Leonidas II (owned by Peter Cattell, Diane Brunsden and Sir Mark Todd), Qwanza (owned by Mark and Rosemary Barlow and Andrew Nicholson), Dassett Cool Touch (owned by Therese Miller and Dan Jocelyn), Kaapachino (owned by Jesse and Dr Craig Campbell),

Onwards and Upwards (owned by Cameron and Mary Crawford and Caroline Powell), Bear Necessity V (owned by Ronnie Bartlett and Blyth Tait), NZB Campino (owned by New Zealand Bloodstock and Sir Mark Todd), Xavier Faer (owned by Trisha Rickards, Nigella Hall and Tim Price) and Nereo (owned by Deborah Sellar).

FEI Classics Series leaderboard (after three of six events): Maxime Livio (FRA) and Michael Jung (GER) 27 points, Hazel Shannon (AUS) 15, Wihelm Enzinger (AUS) 12,

Zara Tindall (GBR) and Andrew Cooper (AUS) 10, Phillip Dutton (USA) and Nicola Wilson (GBR) 8, Hannah Sue Burnett (USA) and Alexander Bragg (GBR) 6.

ends

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