World no.1 Tim Price will be out to add to his CCI5* crown collection at an event that so far eluded him when he starts at the 2023 Badminton Horse Trials this week. It will be his ninth visit to the prestigious British event, with his best finish so far a third place in 2017 aboard Xavier Faer.
He is one of eight Kiwi combinations to head to South Gloucestershire for the iconic event. Tim will compete aboard his German-bred gelding Vitali, who was his mount at the Tokyo Olympic Games and last year was third at Burghley. He will also line up on Coup de Coeur Dudevin, a Swiss-bred Selle Francais gelding who won the 5* at Maryland in 2022 when on debut at top level.
“My two are feeling good and I am very excited to be heading up to Gloucestershire for Badminton,” said Tim. “The main thing all will be hoping is that they have fit enough horses. The ground is probably going to be a bit soft, so there will be that factor, and then this added hill loop that (cross country designer) Eric Winter has found will add another stamina element to the test.”
However, he was confident both his mounts were ready for the challenge. “I think my two guys are at the right stage of their careers – they have plenty of stamina about them. It’s not their first time around a 5* so I am hoping I am bringing two very well-prepared horses for the job. That’s what it is all about – healthy horses that are well prepared.”
Tim has won 5* crowns at Burghley, Pau, Maryland and twice at Luhmuhlen. Given there are only seven 5* events in the world, with just one being in the Southern Hemisphere, it is an enviable record.
Also wearing the silver fern at Badminton are Olympians Caroline Powell aboard Greenacres Special Cavalier, and Dan Jocelyn with Blackthorn Cruise and 5* debutant Cooley One to Many. Muzi Pottinger will compete aboard her New Zealand thoroughbred Just Kidding, with Hollie Swain and Solo also on the card, as is Lauren Innes aboard Global Fision M.
Missing from the start list is 2022 Badminton champ London 52 who was withdrawn by rider Laura Collett after an injury interrupted their preparation for the event. Ten nations will be represented at the 2023 event, with many of the riders more than capable of taking out the top prize. There are also a clutch of up-and-comers who would like nothing more than to create a little history at Badminton.
New Zealand has a solid history at Badminton, with seven previous winning combinations – Sir Mark Todd with NZB Land Vision (2011), Bertie Blunt (1996), Horton Point (1994) and Southern Comfort III (1980), Jonelle Price aboard Classic Moet (2018), Andrew Nicholson on Nereo (2017) and Jock Paget with Clifton Promise (2013).
This year Badminton coincides with the coronation of Charles II so organisers have juggled the scheduling to ensure those who want to can watch the ceremony. The first horse inspection is late on Thursday (May 4) followed by the dressage on Friday and Saturday (May 5-6), with the cross country on Sunday (May 7) and the showjumping on Monday (May 8).
New Zealander Andrew Bennie is on the ground jury.
THE HORSE DETAILS:
Vitali – owned by Joe and Alexander Giannamore and Tim Price
Coup de Coeur Dudevin – owned by Jean-Louis Stauffer
Solo – owned by John and Janette Bodenham and Emily Botsaris
Global Fision M – owned by the Innes Family Syndicate
Greenacres Special Cavalier – owned by Chris Mann
Cooley One to Many – owned by Lucy and Sophie Allison, Franki Clapham and Carole King
Blackthorne Cruise – owned by Panda Christie and Dan Jocelyn
Just Kidding – owned by the Pottinger Family
WHAT: Badminton Horse Trials, presented by MARS Equestrian
WHEN: May 4-8, 2023
WHERE: Badminton, South Gloucestershire, UK
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By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison
Photo by Libby Law ESNZ