Eventing: New Zealand’s Jonelle Price claims first CCI4* victory with Badminton win…

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Jonelle Price has won the 2018 Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials.

The 37-year-old New Zealander, riding owner Tricia Rickards’ Classic Moet, rattled several fences during Sunday’s final showjumping phase but crucially all the poles stayed up. That meant the pair finished clear and more than four seconds inside a tight optimum time.

Price becomes the first female winner of the event since Lucinda Fredericks won the title 11 years ago. She only returned to eventing in the autumn after six months away from the international circuit to have a baby.

The Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials  04 05 2018

Jonelle Price and Classic Moet – winners of the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials 2018

Classic Moet has also recently become a mother after her embryo transfer foal by Upsilon was born earlier this year.

Price was tied for the lead (28 penalties) with Oliver Townend and his mount Ballaghmor Class going into the final phase but she was closer to the optimum time which gave her the lead.

Two rolled poles for Townend and Ballaghmor Class saw the pair drop down to fifth.

That meant that Price had a pole in hand over the British rider and his other ride – Cooley SRS, who finished second.

Burhgley Horse Trials cross country day 02 09 2017

Oliver Townend and Ballaghmor Class. The pair finished fifth at this years Badminton

Price win also means no Rolex Grand Slam for Townend after the Brit won last year’s Burghley event and most recently Kentucky.

The Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing is awarded to the rider who wins all three of the sport’s major CCI4* competitions – Burghley, Kentucky and Badminton.

Rising star Ros Canter and her ride Allstar B tipped one rail in an otherwise foot perfect round to end the competition in third place.

Influential course…
Kelvin Bywater’s course proved to be very influential with only nine combinations jumping clear rounds. Of those nine, just five finished without time faults and therefore adding nothing to their score after the first two phases.

Faults were spread fairly evenly across the track, but the water tray at fence 11 claimed it’s fair share of high profile scalps, including Michael Jung and La Biosthetique-Sam FBW (10th) and Mark Todd, who was riding Kiltubrid Rhapsody (sixth).

Both Gemma Tattersall (Arctic Soul) and Tom McEwen (Toledo De Kerser) also jumped clear to finish among the top Brits in fourth and seventh place respectively.

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Eventing: Andrew Nicholson wins first ever Badminton title…

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New Zealand’s Andrew Nicholson aboard Nereo at Badminton in 2015. He won his first title earlier today

It has taken 37 attempts but New Zealand’s Andrew Nicholson finally has his first Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials title!

Nicholson’s debut win, at one of eventing’s most prestigious 4* competitions, comes just two years after the 55-year-old suffered a serious neck injury in a fall. He first competed in the event in 1984.

Sitting third overnight after yesterday’s tricky cross country phase, Nicholson, who was riding the 17-year-old Nereo, jumped clear incurring only one time fault – but that was enough to seal victory.

German rider Michael Jung, who had won the Kentucky three-day-event just a week earlier and was riding La Biosthetique Sam FBW, had a fence down for second place, finishing just 2.6 penalties behind Andrew.

Overnight leaders Ingrid Klimke and Horseware Hale Bob OLD had a nightmare on course, with three fences down, a stop and seven time faults, meaning the win was handed to the New Zealander and a ninth place overall finish for Klimke.

Klimke had been bidding to become the first female rider to win Badminton since Australian rider Lucinda Fredericks in 2007.

Nicholson’s fellow compatriot Tim Price finished in third place, after picking up a total of 49.2 penalties aboard Xavier Faer.

Best of the British contingent was Rosalind Canter, who finished in fifth place after a clear round in the final phase, riding her own and Caroline Moore’s 11-year-old Allstar B.

Gemma Tattersall jumped a massive 60 places after jumping a double clear on former racehorse Arctic Soul. She had finished 67th after the dressage phase.

Seasoned campaigner Tina Cook finished 10th with one of two young horses, Billy the Red, while another Kiwi, Sir Mark Todd finished in fourth and sixth with NZB Campino and Leonidas II respectively.

Japanese rider Yoshiaki Oiwa finished in eighth with 62.2 penalties aboard The Duke of Cavan – the highest ever finish for a Japanese rider at Badminton.

Looking to the future, British rider Tom McEwen and his 10-year-old horse Toledo De Kerser, which he co-owns with Jane Inns and Ali McEwen, finished just outside the top 10 in 11th place.

Final standings (top 10)…
1. Andrew Nicholson (NZ) (Nereo) 41.4 pens
2. Michael Jung (Germany) (La Biosthetique Sam FBW) 44
3. Tim Price (NZ) (Xavier Faer) 49.2
4. Mark Todd (NZ) (NZB Campino) 50.4
5. Rosalind Canter (GB) (Allstar B) 54.5
6. Mark Todd (NZ) (Leonidas II) 58.1
7. Gemma Tattersall (GB) (Arctic Soul) 60.2
8. Yoshiaki Oiwa (Japan) (The Duke of Cavan) 62.2
9. Ingrid Klimke (Germany) (Horseware Hale Bob) 62.6
10. Kristina Cook (GB) (Billy the Red) 63.4

¬†New Zealand’s Andrew Nicholson speaks to Horse & Country TV following his first ever Badminton Horse Trials title (Video courtesy of H&C Youtube channel)