Laura Collett leads after the dressage at Badminton
Friday evening concluded the dressage phase at Badminton Horse Trials, presented by MARS Equestrian, with British rider, Laura Collett, securing top spot on the leader board with London 52, on a mere 21 penalties.
Collett’s winning test was posted during the morning’s session, which meant the Olympic Gold Medallist had to be patient and watch some of the best combinations come forward to try and best her score. After what must have been a very long wait, none came close leaving Collett in first, while overnight leader Tom McEwen edged into 2nd and Kitty King in 3rd.
With Pippa Funnell hot from competition at the Land Rover Kentucky three-day-event, Badminton was bound to be a test of resilience and stamina. Although Funnell wasn’t able to knock Collett from the top spot, ever the professional she held her own and rode good test to finish in 11th on MGH Grafton Street.
As the day edged closer to the finish line, Harry Meade, Oliver Townend, Rosalind Canter and William Fox-Pitt were all placed well to challenge Collett’s morning’s score, yet none were successful.
Rosalind Canter and Oliver Townend managed to finish each with two rides within the top 12. Canter rode Lordships Graffalo into 10th and Allstar B into 12th, while Townend sits in joint 6th on Swallow Springs (with Piggy March), and in joint 8th on Ballaghmor Class (with Amanda Pottinger).
Nicola Wilson was one of the remaining riders to grace the dressage turf, riding 16.1hh gelding, Erano M. The horse, who was making debut at 5 star, has enjoyed a good start to the BE season, placing within the top 10 at Oasby (1) and the Eventing spring Carnival at Thorseby, in March. Although the pair rode a strong test, they finished in a respectable 19th place ahead of tomorrow’s cross country test.
Excitement certainly filled the Badminton Estate grounds as crowds gathered in the shopping village which was rich with an ambient mood. The dressage arena was packed with spectators who eagerly awaited seeing their heroes in the saddle after a two year Badminton Hiatus caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.
With all eyes now firmly on tomorrow’s cross country which is set to take place in front of a sell-out crowd, it’s sure to be a day of adrenalin, emotion and celebration. If you’ve not already got tickets, you don’t have to miss out! Subscribe to Badminton’s Livestream here www.badminton-horse.co.uk/badminton-tv/
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