Report by Sarah Carless
Michael Jung did the double at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials – not only winning the
event but scooping the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing in the process.
The German – who has won World, Olympic and European titles, looked unbeatable throughout the week and kept his cool as he went into the main arena last to put the finish touches to a faultless performance. He complete on his dressage score of 34.3 – a winning margin of nine penalties, the biggest wining margin in ten years, and a record score for a Badminton winner.
Michael is only the second rider in the history of the Rolex Grand Slam – after Pippa Funnell – but is the first to complete it in the short format era of the sport.
Of the Rolex Grand Slam – which comes with a $350,000 prize fund, he said: “I think we need a bit of time to realise this. It is a very special moment for me. We always said this was a normal competition and we do it like it is a normal competition – it’s not Badminton. I have to say thank you to all the people who helped me with the horses. It’s not just for me and my horse, it’s a win for the whole team.”
Andreas Ostholt kept the pressure on his fellow countryman with a clear round in the show jumping on So Is Et. He commented: “I am really happy – for me it is like a win. My expectations weren’t this high. My expectations after two unlucky times at Badminton was to finish in a nice way. That I came second was more than I ever wished.”
Gemma Tattersall and Arctic Soul were the best British combination, finishing on their dressage score of 44.6 after a powerful display in the jumping phases. Gemma said afterwards: “To come back with this horse who I have had such a journey with, managing to keep the ride when he was going to be sold on from me and to come third at Badminton is just a dream come true. It’s just amazing. The horse has been on the form of his life this year – it was just a case of coming here and being as competitive as we could. The horse did a personal best in the dressage and he has finished on his dressage score – I could not be more proud of him.”
As the highest placed British rider, Gemma was the winner of the Butler Challenge Bowl, and was the winner of a £1,000 cash prize for being the highest placed former race horse put forward by Retraining of Racehorses (RoR). She added: “It means the world to me to win this prize. He was still racing over fences when he was six years old so it’s a testament to his ability and trainability to come and be third at Badminton.”
Beanie Sturgis was the winner of the Glentool Trophy which is awarded to the horse and rider whose final position shows the greatest improvement on their dressage placing. With Lebowski, Beanie jumped from 59th to 11th. She also won the Cotswold life Trophy as the best British rider not entitled to wear an adult Union Jack badge who lives in Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Oxfordshire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire, and Somerset. Beanie said after her clear round: “He was amazing – he was like a Jack in the box. He’s a tiny little horse and he just flew over them. I’m thrilled. I couldn’t have asked more from the horse. I dreamt of a top 20 finish so that’s really exciting. He’ll now go out in the field with my children’s ponies and have a nice time stuffing his face and have a bit of a break.”
Five British riders finished inside the top twenty – alongside Gemma and Beanie, Kristina Cook finished seventh on Star Witness, Izzy Taylor finished eighth with Allercombe Ellie and Ben Way completed in 12th with Galley Light.
New Zealand riders also put in strong performances ahead of the Olympic Games this summer. Mark Todd was the highest placed rider with Leonidas II in fourth followed by Clarke Johnstone and Balmoral Sensation in fifth. Jock Paget and Clifon Lush finished sixth, Jonelle Price in tenth with Classic Moet and Blyth Tait finish 13th with Bear Necessity V.
Camilla Speirs was the highest placed Irish rider in ninth with Portersize Just A Jiff. Afterwards she said: “I’m absolutely delighted. He has been on such amazing form all week and to finish it off like that is just amazing.”
Forty six horses went forward to show jump after the final horse inspection. Emily Gilruth did not present Topwood Beau while three were sent to the hold box. Sportsfield Othello (Joseph Murphy IRL) and Balmoral Sensation (Clarke Johnstone NZL) passed when represented but Simon Grieve (GBR) decided to withdraw Cornacrew.
Izzy Taylor’s groom Anna Mildner was awarded the Treehouse Sporting Colours prize for ‘the Groom who puts in the most effort towards the care of their horse over the week’, as judged by the Stable Manager.
Photographs courtesy of Photography by HR