British riders continue their stranglehold on the dressage at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials, filling the top eight slots with a very in-form Oliver Townend adding to the history books as he sits in one and two.
Andrew Nicholson and Swallow Springs are the best of the New Zealanders in 10th spot with 27.8 penalty points, 8.1 adrift of Oliver and Cillnabradden Evo who yesterday set a record 19.7 mark. Oliver is second aboard his 2017 Burghley winner Ballaghmor Class.
Andrew felt his grey gelding just continues to get better. “He is quite a sensitive horse, but he knows in the arena to do his job and now he feels stronger than he did last year,” he said, adding the horse was certainly one for the future.
Badminton was always the main event of the year for Andrew who holds the record for the most completions at the prestigious event which he won in 2017 aboard Nereo.
“It is high powered stuff,” he said. “It gives you a real buzz and you either go home very happy or very sad.” He is looking forward to the cross country which he describes as “very much a rider’s course”. “It is difficult. You have to ride it all the way. Time will be hard to get.”
Tim Price and Ringwood Sky Boy scored 30.1 penalty points to sit in 15th equal with Sir Mark Todd aboard NZB Campino in 18th equal on 30.6, Jesse Campbell and Cleveland in 24th equal on 31.4, Tim and Bango on 37.6 and Virginia Thompson aboard Star Nouveau on 38.3.
Tim was very pleased with Ringwood Sky Boy saying he had probably done his best-ever (dressage) test at Badminton. “He can be a bit on the excitable side, especially at this end of the season. It felt like other than a couple of little moments of tension, it was actually a lovely test.”
The dressage was only one part of Badminton and Tim is now looking forward to the rest. The rain had made a massive difference to the ground and he felt the cross country would call for good riding all round.
Sir Mark said it was always special to be at Badminton. “We are very lucky to come to this amazing event and we just hope we get to complete it again this year.” He was “quite pleased” with Campino’s dressage efforts. “Obviously it is annoying when he spoils it a bit and makes silly little mistakes because he is very capable but that is sort of him and I am used to him now. The cross country is a usual Badminton track – it is big. I think this year there are a lot of accuracy questions with angles and corners, and they are big fences as well.”
The cross country gets underway this evening.
The horse details:
Ringwood Sky Boy – owned by Varenna Allen, Robert Taylor and Tim Price
Bango – owned by Numero Uno Syndicate
NZB Campino – owned by New Zealand Bloodstock and Sir Mark Todd
Swallow Springs – owned by Paul and Diana Ridgeon
Cleveland – owned by Kent Gardner and Jesse Campbell
Star Nouveau – owned by Elaine Butterworth, Anthony Quirk and Virginia Thompson
By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison
Photo by Libby Law/ESNZ