Townend Snatches a Late Cross Country Lead from Fellow Brit, Piggy French
Oliver Townend (GBR) snatched a late lead during the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials to once again reign supreme following the cross country, riding the 12-year-old ISH, Ballaghmor Class.
Piggy French (GBR) and 14-year-old ISH Vanir Kamira, held the leaderboard ‘top spot’ from early afternoon, finishing on a clear with 0.4 time faults. Initially produced by French, the mare has since been under the saddle of top event riders; Paul Tapner and Izzy Taylor. French took back the ride in 2017, when the pair went on to finish second at Burghley.
Townend had slipped down the leaderboard following his overnight lead. He had picked up 12.4 time faults during his first round on Cillnabradden Evo, still not bad for the horse’s debut Badminton.
Although clear rounds were abundant, each combination struggled to as always finish the Eric Winter’s course within the time allowed. Christopher Burton (AUS) riding Graf Liberty, was the first rider who managed to do so, with Virginia Thompson (NZL) and Star Nouveau the second pair to finish, three seconds within the time allowed. Tim Price and Andrew Nicholson followed making the total clears, within the time set (2017 – 2019) to only seven (Tim Price x2 2017, 2019)!
It was a successful day for Leicestershire based Imogen Murray (GBR), riding Ivar Gooden, as their cross country course run helped them rise from 65th place, to finish in 12th … quite a feat! As one of the youngest riders this year, she made her debut riding Ivan Gooden in 2017. Since then the pair have finished twice in the top 20 at Burghley Horse Trials, and won the prize for the highest placed Under-25 rider during her debut year.
A total of 78 horse and rider combinations tackled the 2019 cross country course, 47 of which jumped clear, a further 19 were eliminated or retired. Only five riders were clear inside the time with average time penalties of 19.0.
If Oliver Townend jumps clear during this afternoon’s final showjumping phase he will make history for finishing on the best ever score, completing the now CCI5* event on 21.5 with Ballaghmor Class.
The pair have a pole in hand ahead of the day’s action, separating him from five other riders including: Piggy French, Christopher Burton (Graf Liberty), Andrew Nicholson, Christopher Burton (Cooley Lands) and Tim Price.
For live streaming of today’s action visit www.badminton-horse.co.uk/livestream/showjumping-morning-session-2019