Well what an extraordinary and exciting finish there will be tomorrow at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials. We knew it would be a close one but did anyone imagine this close – just one fence between the first five riders? And there are bags of potential for a rewrite of the history books. Can Andrew Nicholson finally break his Badminton duck after 31 years of competing here?
Whether he wins or not (and providing both of his horses pass the horse inspection) he will further his record as the rider with the most completions which will go up to 35.
Surely no-one will ever surpass that? Well, not in my lifetime.
Pictured: William Fox-Pitt (GBR) riding Chilli Morning. Copyright Kit Houghton
Maybe Ingrid Klimke will put her name in the record books as the first German rider to win the title – she has been second here and Michael Jung came so close in 2013 when all he had to do was jump the final showjumping fence – and then the pole rolled ever so slowly off the cups, handing the title to Jock Paget.
Both Andrews ride Nereo and Oliver Townend’s third placed Armada, are by the thoroughbred Fines out of Berganza by the Hanoverian Golf I
And what are the chances of two full brothers (equine not human) finishing first and second. Both Andrews ride Nereo and Oliver Townend’s third placed Armada, are by the thoroughbred Fines out of Berganza by the Hanoverian Golf I. Not only would it be a record for their breeder, former rider Ramon Beca, but they were both produced by Andrew who also rode their full siblings Fenicio, Homero, Oplitas and Silfio – that must be a record in itself.
Full brothers competing at Badminton are not a new phenomenon – in 2009 two sets competed; Special Advocate and Special Attorney by Criminal Law out of a mare by Garnered both ridden by Dan Jocelyn and Bit of a Barney and Partly Pickled both by Blaze O’ Gold out of Gerfuffle by Rhodomantade. Both were ridden by Louise Skelton whose mother Jackie bred the pair. Sadly however neither of the pairs completed that year or at other events. This year Louise is riding another member of the same family. Mr Potts (by Old Leighlin) is out of Gerfuffle’s daughter Much of a Muddle (by Roma Diamond Skip) and is a half- sister to her former Badminton brothers.
Or is it possible that a stallion could win Badminton for the first time. No stallion has ever won a major four-star event and few stallions even compete at the level. The last stallions to complete Badminton with any distinction were; Welton Apollo, eighth in 1989 with Leslie Law – and the pair did complete three Badmintons – and the British-bred Yarlands Summersong, also eighth in 1995 with French rider Marie Christine Duroy. Interestingly his sire Fleetwater Opposition had a runner here this year in Absolut Oppostion who gave Nana Dalton her first ride round.
More recently the Trakehner stallion Windfall (who was produced to advanced level by Ingrid Klimke) ridden by American Darren Chiacchia won at three-star level including 12th place at the 2004 Olympic Games.
But Badminton is not just about the winners and today produced so many other great results.
And a couple of the hard luck stories;
All in all a cracking day for the sport and Badminton. And now everyone can start worrying about tomorrow morning’s final horse inspection that takes place at 08.30am.