The all star entry list for the 2013 Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials (2nd – 6th May) is headed by reigning Olympic, World and European Champion Michael Jung, accompanied by 3 of his 4 fellow German team gold medallists. The whole of the British silver medal team is intending to take part, as are all 5 of the New Zealand bronze medal team. Rarely can there have been a stronger cast for the longest established major eventing competition in the world.
While Michael Jung on all his form must start favourite, William Fox Pitt has five horses to choose from in his attempt to pick up the Rolex Grand Slam by adding the Mitsubishi Motors title to his wins at Burghley 2011 and Kentucky 2012; while Andrew Nicholson, the man with by far the most Badminton completions to his name but without a win so far, was on a roll at the end of 2012 with his wins at the HSBC FEI Classics at Burghley and Pau.
7 previous winners of the world’s premier event include reigning champion Mark Todd, recently knighted; Lucinda Fredericks and Paul Tapner from Australia; Mary King, Oliver Townend, Pippa Funnell – the only winner of the Rolex Grand Slam to date – and of course William Fox Pitt, all from the host nation.
Nearly 150 would be entrants put their names forward to take part, so once again the leading 85 horses on recent form have been accepted, with the remainder put on a waiting list. History indicates that many of these will eventually get a run, but by no means all.
Event Director and course designer Hugh Thomas has already said that the cross country course will be very similar to that prepared for the 2012 event cancelled at the last minute because of record breaking rainfall – but there are a few tweaks, to be unveiled in the middle of April.
Advance ticket sales have even exceeded last year’s record levels. While basic admission and car parking can be purchased at the gate on the day, the camping site and the grandstands are nearly sold out and so should be booked now online at www.badminton-horse.co.uk , where the full list of entries and the waiting list can also be seen.