Badminton Horse Trials are over for another year, and what an action-packed weekend it was!
Australian rider Sam Griffiths and his mare Paulank Brockagh (pictured) clinched first place in the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials after a four- fault jumping round yesterday.
This year's event was full of thrills and spills and Sam and his Irish-bred 10 year old rose from overnight 5th place having been well down in the field, 25th place after dressage on Friday.
"I had thought that if I did well I could move up, but there were still good riders in front of me and I had no expectations of being on the podium,”
“I think horses were probably quite tired after the Cross Country and the course was twisty and up-to-height on fairly dead ground, but ‘Brocks’ is one tough nut. She has a massive heart.”
He added: “This is the ultimate dream. As a little boy in Australia, I used to wait for the video tapes of Badminton to arrive, so to ride here was always a major ambition. This means the world to me. Badminton is the pinnacle.
Oliver Townend had eight faults with his horse Armada, but still managed to move up two places and finish second.
Harry Meade delighted fans by coming third, a career best, despite being in hospital for months with two broken elbows after a fall in August last year.
Meade, who lives only three miles from Badminton and whose father, Richard, won here in 1970 and 1982, explained: “I couldn’t let myself get too excited and today I’ve felt calm and determined to enjoy it. The last few months have rather put things into perspective for me.”
Top names such as William Fox-Pitt, Mary King, Mark Todd and Andrew Nicholson surprisingly played no part in the final day of Badminton, the cross country course was the undoing of well over half of the competitors with only 23 clear rounds out of 87, none inside the time.
Mary King and Imperial Cavalier had an astounding moment at the Outlander Bank Owl Hole where Mary showed true grit and stayed on, despite 'Archie' putting in a short one and getting himself stuck. She unfortunately retired three fences later after a refusal.
William Fox Pitt had a fall from Parklane Hawk and Mark Todd fell when a refusal led to him sitting on the fence. Andrew Nicholson, the last to go with Nereo also took a tumble.