Michael Jung Still in Lead Following Cross Country at Badminton
Plenty of Cross Country Action…Same Leader!
After a day of intense cross country action here at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials, the leader board has seen a lot of change…apart from the leader. Michael Jung of Germany – part man, part eventing machine is in the lead going into tomorrow’s show jumping phase with nine penalties in hand to try and clinch the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing, a trophy not won since Pippa Funnel took the title some 13 years ago.
The course took some beating today, and those that were lacking were left wanting whilst those with grit and determination, along with some experience made it look do-able. With only 11 clear rounds inside the time and 32 clears in total, another 27 combinations did not complete Giuseppe della Chiesa’s course. Some 13 combinations fell foul of the infamous Vicarage V – a fence that saw a return since it’s last appearance on the course in 2014. Fence 23, the Shogun Hollow – a double of offset skinny hedges either side of a steep gulley was the second most influential combination on course with eight eliminations and a fall.
The Mirage pond saw just as much action with nine eliminations. Other errors were wide spread, including the second to last combination of fences which sealed the fate of two British riders. In a cruel repetition of history, overnight second placed rider Emily King befell the same fate as her mother falling here a few years ago when in with a shout of winning the competition. British stalwart Jeanette Brakewell was the other to fall here with Let’s Dance, all horses and riders were winded but thankfully walked away.
As usual, Michael Jung and La Biosthetique-Sam FBW gave a shear masterclass in cross country perfection. Taking every direct route, making the course look easy where others struggled and showed just why they deserve to be Badminton winners. “He’s a very experienced horse now, he trusts me and listens to me and he gave me a very good feeling,” Jung said of the 16 year old bay gelding. Mr Cool personified, Jung seems equally unfazed by the prospect of being crowned Grand Slam Champion tomorrow, “Today we are going to enjoy the moment and party a little bit, and then hopefully we are lucky tomorrow!”
A stonking cross country round inside the time saw Great Britain’s Gemma Tattersall rise from 16th place after time to third place at the end of the day today. With a steely determination, she flew around the course with ease and made the Vicarage V look nothing more than a Pony Club fence, “he’s jumped it before so I knew he’d be fine,” she said. “He’s a complete machine, he actually went out the start box like a shotgun and went over the first three fences like we were at Cheltenham!” Gemma laughed. “Luckily I managed to settle him down on the longer stretches, but he’s just got the most incredible stride and stamina” she said of the 13 year old bay gelding. My bet is that these two just secured their ticket to Rio and I will gladly find a hat to eat if I am wrong!
Gemany’s Andreas Ostholt has put himself back into overnight second place with a determined but slightly hair raising round in places, “for sure I had a moment at the Vicarage V, I was sitting on top and I thought “no, no, not today!” so I’m getting old but not too old to stay on the horse!” he joked. “Otherwise I was really happy, I really enjoyed my ride and was pleased with it.” He said of So Is Et.
After Jung’s hold on the top spot with two poles and a time fault in hand, just one fence then separates the next ten horses from second to 12th place. What is set to be an incredible finale to the 2016 Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials, also looks set to create a moment of history where the worlds best eventing rider may just lift the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing trophy.
For times and results following the cross country at Badminton please visit www.badminton-horse.co.uk/index.php/cross-country-results-2016/