The Entry list for the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials 2012 is published today on the Badminton website www.badminton-horse.co.uk and it is as star studded as ever in this Olympic year. Once again, not all the aspiring riders have been able to be accommodated, so there is a Waiting List of 49 after the usual 85 have been taken.
12 nations will be represented. The leading rider is undoubtedly Michael Jung, reigning World and European Champion from Germany, at Badminton for the first time, who brings Leopin FST. The horse with most international points at the top of the entries is Lenamore, looking for his first win and 8th completion under Caroline Powell from New Zealand.
6 previous winners are among those accepted: Mary King, the 2011 HSBC FEI Classics Series Champion; Pippa Funnell, the only Rolex Grand Slam winner; William Fox-Pitt, 6 times Burghley winner; Mark Todd, the 2011 Mitsubishi Motors champion and double Olympic gold medallist; Andrew Hoy, triple Olympic team gold medallist, back at Badminton after a short absence; and Oliver Townend, another who has done the Badminton and Burghley double.
Zara Phillips has a good chance of a top placing with High Kingdom while Andrew Nicholson (New Zealand) goes for his first win after a record 32 completions to date and former world champion Jean Teulere heads a strong French challenge. The Irish are out in force, no doubt eager to snatch one of their country’s three slots in the Olympic Games and for many riders this will be the last major chance to catch the selectors’ eye before the squads are announced for Greenwich. With very few riders from any nation being guaranteed an Olympic place, the tension is sure to last until the very last show jump is cleared.
After the Mitsubishi Motors Grassroots Championships on Thursday 3rd May, the international starts in earnest with two days of dressage on Friday and Saturday, cross country on Sunday 6th May and the climax in the main arena on Bank Holiday Monday 7th May.