On day two of the dressage, Emily King stormed into second place at the end of the morning’s dressage session with Brookleigh, scoring 36.8. At 20 years old, Emily is the youngest rider in the field but the partnership delivered a supremely cool and polished performance that belied her age. Badminton is the rider’s second CCI4* event, having come fourth with this horse at Pau last October.
She said: “I’m absolutely over the moon. Brook was really good. He warmed up beautifully and didn’t change when he went into the arena, which is what you want. I know he was capable of doing a good test but he has never been in such a big arena or had such a big atmosphere as it is here at Badminton. But he kept his cool and was very rideable. I came here and I wanted to do really well – I’m a very competitive person. I’m super lucky to be here. Since we went to Pau and got a good result we new he was very capable of doing well so I’ve come here to do as well as I can. There is no point in over thinking things. I know what I have to do and how I have to ride for him to respond well and I’m just trying to keep focussed on that.”
Day two of dressage produced some strong performances by British riders. Alongside Emily, there are nine other home riders in the top 20 ahead of the cross country: Francis Whittington (4th, Hasty Imp), Dani Evans (6=, Raphael II), Izzy Taylor (6=, Allercombe Ellie), Oliver Townend (8th, Black Tie), Sarah Bullimore (15th, Valentino V), Gemma Tattersall (16th, Arctic Soul), Nicola Wilson (18th, One Two Many), Rosalind Canter (20th, Allstar B).
Germany’s Michael Jung remains rooted at the head of the field on La Biosthetique-Sam FBW on a score of 34.4, while his fellow countryman Andreas Ostholt (So Is Et) drops one place to third.
Michael said of the cross country: “I think the time will be OK tomorrow. We have nearly 12 minutes but nearly the same number of fences as when we had 11 minutes so we have one minute more to gallop. On this ground and in this weather we will be OK. It depends a little bit on what rhythm you have to the fences – it could cost a lot of energy of the horse or you could get a nice jump.”
Ahead of tomorrow’s cross country course, Giuseppe Della Chiesa was optimistic about how riders would fair against the test ahead. He commented: “I think you are confident that everything that should be done is done but at the same time as course designer you don’t have one horse to ride but seventy horses to ride. So you need to be a bit apprehensive of what will happen. The ground has dried up very well in comparison with last week we are very lucky. You always need to be careful when you are on drying going – it could become sticky somewhere – I think they will be on top of the ground in some areas but it others it could be a bit holding. So far the feedback from the riders is that they are all alert but in general I’ve had good feedback. They think the course is clear, it is there to be jumped but they are happy with the course. If there are some difficulties they will be spread around the course. I think it will be interesting as the course is slightly longer.”
Photographs courtesy of Hannah Ray