Tim Price and Vitali have charged into the lead at the MARS Badminton Horse Trials as they chase down that illusive CCI5* trophy for the cabinet.

It’s been a very influential night of cross country that saw a massive shake up of the leaderboard but ended with four Kiwis in the top 12. Tim kept his clean FEI cross country jumping record in tact adding just four time to his tally to finish the day on 31.7 penalty points.

Caroline Powell and Greenacres Special Cavalier were also clear, adding time for their 43.2 penalty point sixth place effort. Jonelle Price and Grappa Nera added time only for their 45.2 point tally that sees them in 11th spot with Jesse Campbell and Cooley Lafitte one back, also having added only time for their 46.5 score. Lauren Innes and Global Fision M catapulted themselves from 64th after the dressage to 27th thanks to a clear jumping round that saw them finish the day on 61 penalty points.

Caroline Powell and CBI Aldo were one of 12 combinations to retire on course, including overnight dressage leader Ros Canter (GBR) and Izilot DHI. A further nine were eliminated from the Eric Winter-designed course. Only 10 combinations of the remaining 41 in the field picked up jumping faults on course with no one making time.

But it was all about Tim and Vitali. “We are in a good position to have a go tomorrow,” he said in his truly understated style. “Vitali just turns himself inside out when the going gets tough and gives me everything. I love today that he was pushing at the start – but in a fresh way – and at the end he was pushing in a rhythmic, low, tired but keen way and I love that feeling.”

Tim has yet to win a Badminton, despite having five 5* victories to his credit. This is his 11th start at Badminton with third his best effort so far.

Caroline Powell was pleased with Greenacres Special Cavalier. “She was lovely,” she said. “We stuck to the plan and she jumped really well. I am chuffed with her.”
EquiRatings have Caroline and the mare as one of the top 10 most reliable showjumpers in the field, and Caroline as one of the riders with the most Badminton showjumping clears – inside time – since 2010.

Jonelle was also pleased with the efforts of Grappa Nera. “She was class. She jumped very well. This was a bit of step up for her. She has been round Pau but is was another kettle of fish and a little bit heading into the unknown.”

Jesse was delighted with Cooley Lafitte. “Anytime you go through the finish flags at Badminton is a very special moment,” he said. “I couldn’t be more pleased with my horse. He tried incredibly hard on a demanding track. It really tested the horse’s mental stamina and the course rode tough. You had to definitely get in there and make it happen.”

Right on Tim’s heels is William Fox-Pitt (GBR) aboard Grafennacht on 33 penalty points, with Badminton first-timer Lucy Latta (IRL) aboard RCA Patron Saint on 37.2. William has indicated this could well be his last Badminton, 25 years after his first. With Tim on 31.7, there isn’t even a single showjumping rail between him and William.

“Vitali’s showjumping has been good recently and I think I’ve got a bit of a plan in place. He is buzzing with fitness and wellness so hopefully that will help tomorrow,” said Tim.
Tonight is the final horse inspection followed by what promises to be a very exciting showjumping test.









CBI Aldo

by Goodluck VDL out of KMS Eclipse who is by Ramon

Pat Melville-Evans, Jo West and Serena Greenwell

Greenacres Special Cavalier

by Cavalier Royale out of Greenacres Touch who is by Touchdown

Chris and Michelle Mann and Caroline Powell


Grappa Nera

by Karendasj out of Cetonette who is by Babalouba

The Grape Syndicate and Jonelle Price

Cooley Lafitte

by Je T’aime Flamenco out of Graf Shenanigans who is by Scirocco Delle

Jay Jaffar


by Contender out of Noble Lady who is by Heraldik

Alexander and Joseph Giannamore and Tim Price

Global Fision M

by Flipper D’Elle*HN* out of Kantussa who is by Cantus

Innes Family Syndicate

By Diana Dobson
Photos by Libby Law/ESNZ