Seven Irish bound for Badminton
Published 15/04/2015 | 02:30
Seven Irish riders are among the entries accepted for the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials which kick off in England on May 6.
Both Aoife Clark (Vaguely North and Fenyas Elegance) and Joseph Murphy (Electric Cruise and Sportsfield Othello) have two horses entered apiece.
Single entries have been accepted for Clare Abbott (Euro Prince), Austin O'Connor (Ringwood Mississippi), Michael Ryan (Ballylynch Adventure), Camilla Speirs (Portersize Just A Jiff) and Sam Watson (Horseware Bushman).
O'Connor and Ringwood Mississippi finished best of the Irish in 2014 in 15th position.
One of only six four-star events in the world, Badminton is without doubt the most popular and attracts entries from top-class riders from across the globe.
A limit of 85 often sees a long waiting list in the weeks leading up to the three-day event but a smaller than usual entry of 104 horses were received this year.
This is Badminton's smallest entry for some years, perhaps due to the tough cross- country set last year by new course-designer Giuseppe della Chiesa.
For the past number of months he has been hard at work preparing the 2015 renewal and that will be unveiled to the public this week.
Just 14 horses will now wait for a possible vacancy over the next few weeks.
Australia has its usual strong hand, headed by 2014 winner Sam Griffiths, 2010 champion Paul Tapner and 2006 winner Andew Hoy.
New Zealand will send no less than 16 riders, including previous title holders Mark Todd and Jonathan Paget.
Fellow countryman Andrew Nicholson has entered both Nereo and three-time Burghley winner Avebury.
The British entry is led by William Fox-Pitt who hopes to ride Parklane Hawk and Chilli Morning.
He will be joined by other previous winners Pippa Funnell, Mary King and Oliver Townend with Armada.
Zara Phillips has entered the Irish-bred High Kingdom, but hopes to instead take him for her first visit to Kentucky the week before Badminton.
World and Olympic team gold medallist Ingrid Klimke embarks on another foray to Badminton with her Pau winner Horseware Hale Bob, while the French entry is headed by former World Champion Jean Teulere.
There are single entries from Brazil, Ecuador, Italy, South Africa and Sweden.
As is now customary, the trials start with the Mitsubishi Motors Grassroots Championships on Wednesday, May 6, followed by two days of dressage, the cross-country on the Saturday and show jumping on the Sunday.