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.
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.
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.
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.