In his second year as course designer Eric Winter has taken the traditional line and reversed the direction of the Badminton Course. Starting as ever in the main arena over the familiar flower bed, the ASX Starter (1) riders head left to a choice of inviting Rolex Feeder roll top spreads (2), one of very few portable fences on this track.
Earthworks have created a mound on the way through the car park where there is an impressive fallen tree on the top, the HorseQuest Hump (3). This is designed to break up the natural flatness of the park on the way to the HorseQuest Quarry (4 AB), which Eric describes as back to being how God intended it, with a dry stone wall drop in and its counterpart coming left on the top of the incline.
To avoid a flat out gallop there is a deviation through the trees to a very skinny brush with ditch to the fore on quite a sharp angle, the Rolex Grand Slam Skinny (5). It is then a right turn heading to Huntsman’s Close which this time consists of three very chunky logs on a tight turn (6 AB).
The new Traders Table (7) then keeps the rhythm going before last year’s log into the Lake (8), the Wadworths Water, this time transported to the House end of the water hazard. The entry to The Lake proper is the same route as last year over another massive log, with a brush in the water with a sharp right turn to a narrow brush up the slope (9 ABC).
For the first time in many years the Mitsubishi L200s pickups (10) now come after the Lake as the riders go in front of the tented village and jump left over the imposing World Horse Welfare Gates (11). Next comes a choice of maximum size parallels, the Formulate! White Oxers (12) and onto a natural Stick Pile (13). Turning right out of the Deer Park are a choice of corners (14), up a steep mound with a post and rails on the top (15) then down to another choice of corners away (16) at the Outlander PHEV Mound.
Heading towards the Luckington Lane is a massive triple bar with a drop, the Devoucoux Quad Bar (17). The following obstacle is perhaps simpler this time with a rail in and a parallel out (18 AB) at the Eclipse Cross Pond, then up the small hill over a let up brush, the Vicarage Rolltop (19) to the Hildon Water Pond, which consists of a log, slope into the pond, a running water trough and a hedge up the incline (20 ABC).
The yawning National Star Trakehner (21) is next before the classic KBIS Vicarage Vee (22, 23) and then back into the Park over a rail, down to a ditch and up and out over a narrow house (24 ABCD), the Shogun Hollow.
The Countryside Haywain (25) comes next in front of the House, then it is the portable wooden box followed by the boxed in corners, the Joules Corners, formerly used in Huntsman’s Close (26 ABC).
First seen last year is a very square BHS Table (27) then up past the steps to the Crooked S Bullfinch on the mound (28).
Coming down the hill is a box brush followed by two skinny moustache jumps at an angle (29 ABC), Savills Escalator.
Three from home is the old standard Fischer Brush (30), a beautifully carved single log (31), the Rolex Treetrunk and into the arena to the prize winning Shogun Sport Saddles (32).
The general feeling of the course is rustically impressive.