Fences Tough but Fair at Badminton.
Riders and commentators alike regarded Eric Winters course clever and testing but fair. Of the 78 starters at today’s cross country section of this five star event there were 15 retired and a further 4 were eliminated. It was a large course, some of which flowed really well, but some of the elements were rather more technical and tended to break up the rhythm of some of the horses.
Christopher Burton from Australia riding Graf Liberty, who had a great round with no faults and no time penalties finishing on the optimum time of 11 minutes 45 seconds. He ended up being in third and his second horse was equally good, Cooley Lands, ending the day in fifth position. Dressage leader and record holder finished 31 seconds over time, Oliver Townend riding Cillnabradden Evo collected 32.1 penalty points.This cost him six places and finished the day in 7th.
Piggy French had a wonderful round and for a very long time held the lead with 26.8 penalties having had only 0.8 penalties in the cross country. She was riding Vanir Kamira. Stalwart Andrew Nicholson from New Zealand occupied fourth place with a total of 27.8 . However ,finally, late in the day, Oliver Townend went with his second ride and two time Burghley winner, Ballaghmor Class and after another good round with only 0.4 of a time fault found himself at the top of the leader board with a total of 26,8 penalties, 5.3 points ahead of Piggy French. There were a total five combinations who finished inside the time.
With just over one fence between the top two, those following are much closer with only 2 penalty points between the second and fifth places, less than one fence.
Tomorrow will see some exciting competition among the top riders but Ollie Townend must still hold the ace card and it is still his event to loose!