Jonelle Price notched the biggest win of her career this morning when she rode Classic Moet to victory at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials.
“Dreams do come true,” said the beaming 37-year-old, who is the first female to hoist the prestigious Badminton Trophy since Lucinda Fredericks in 2007.
Price and Classic Moet came into the showjumping at the top of the leaderboard but tied on 28 penalty points after bolting up the ranks from 22nd thanks to a superb cross country round yesterday.
Right on her tail today was Oliver Townend (GBR) who was chasing not only Badminton victory, but also Rolex Grand Slam honours. However, he had to settle for second and fifth aboard his two mounts.
“I certainly had lady luck on my side today,” said Price, “but sometimes you need a little luck.” She wasn’t joking – 14-year-old Classic Moet nudged nearly every fence in the round and certainly had a life when a rail bounced back into the cups.
Two time Olympian Price, who had her first child last year, admitted she had begun to wonder if she was ever going to lay claim to a 4*. “I am so pleased. Sometimes these horses go through their career without a big win.”
And she was just as happy for the mare’s co-owner Trisha Rickards. “She is a huge supporter of ours and has a few top class horses with us.”
Price and Classic Moet were third at Burghley in 2016 and the best of the Kiwis at the 2014 FEI World Equestrian Games in France with their fourth placing.
Sir Mark Todd and Kiltubrid Rhapsody were sixth today, with Tim Price and Ringwood Sky Boy 12th and Todd aboard Leonidas II 14th. Caroline Powell was 29th and 31st with On the Brash and Up Up and Away, with Dan Jocelyn aboard Dassett Cool Touch 37th and Virginia Thompson and Star Nouveau 40th. Defending champ Andrew Nicholson and Nereo withdrew before the final phase.
Just five of the 53 combinations in the showjumping were clear and inside time. Todd and Kiltubrid had an unlucky rail to finish on 37.4 penalty points; Tim Price and Sky Boy took two rails to finish on 46.2 and Todd aboard Leonidas II had three plus a time fault to finish on 49.3.
Click PLAY to listen to a interview with Jonelle Price