Oliver Townend led off the first day of dressage at the beautifully sunny Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials 2016. With the evergreen Armada, he produced a solid test which was perhaps a little harshly marked for 46.2, leaving them just outside the top 10 overnight. Rosalind Canter, making her Badminton debut with Allstar B, produced a consistent test which left her well in contention on 45.6 and tenth place heading into day two.
The elegant St Daniel, ably piloted by Megan Heath, had an impressive trot which floated across the ground, but sadly performed most of the test somewhat behind the vertical and didn’t appear totally through and true in the contact. They ended on 54.3, but are clearly capable of very high marks in the future.
Crowd favourite Simon Grieve did well to keep a lid on a very tense and excitable Cornacrew, who looked ready to go cross country and had trouble focusing on the dressage. Despite several 3s and 4s, where Cornacrew just couldn’t contain his enthusiasm, the canter work was solid and accurate and they ended the morning session on 63.8.
Sarah Ennis was best of the Irish with BLM Diamond Delux, and their polished performance saw them take the lead, all be it briefly, on 43.6. But it was the penultimate rider in the morning session who really wowed the judges, with a test which started a little safe, but quickly ramped up to gain several 8s. This was Sam Griffiths with former winner Paulank Brockagh, who posted a score of 42.2. Given the atrocious conditions the pair battled through to win in 2014, they have to be serious contenders for the 2016 title.
The afternoon session started strongly, with Michael Jung the first into the arena on La Biosthetique Sam FBW. He produced the masterclass we’ve come to expect, with pin-point accuracy more than making up for what the horse lacks in paces. The first to break into the thirties, he shot 7.8 points clear of Sam Griffiths with a score of 34.4. The New Zealander, Jesse Campbell, had the unenviable task of following Michael into the arena, but he produced an elegant and polished test at his first Badminton to post a score of 41.1 and secure 5th place at the end of day one.
The Germans continued to prove their domination with Andreas Ostholt slotting into second place just 3.8 penalties behind Michael Jung. So Is Et did a consistent and correct test to be the only other combination in the thirties, on 38.2.
Jock Paget and Clifton Lush made some expensive errors to end on 45.2, which was good enough to leave them in ninth overnight. Best of the Brits was Francis Whittington, last to go on the bay gelding Hasty Imp. The pair produced a very pleasing test to almost break into the thirties, with only the slightly lower marks from the judge at B holding them on a score of 40 and third place at the end of the first day.
Overnight Top Ten:
|LA BIOSTHETIQUE – SAM FBW||Michael Jung (GER)||34.4||1|
|SO IS ET||Andreas Ostholt (GER)||38.2||2|
|HASTY IMP||Francis Whittington (GBR)||40.0||3|
|BALMORAL SENSATION||Clarke Johnstone (NZL)||40.8||4|
|KAAPACHINO||Jesse Campbell (NZL)||41.1||5|
|PAULANK BROCKAGH||Sam Griffiths (AUS)||42.2||6|
|BLM DIAMOND DELUX||Sarah Ennis (IRL)||43.6||7|
|VALENTINO V||Sarah Bullimore (GBR)||44.4||8|
|CLIFTON LUSH||Jonathan Paget (NZL)||45.2||9|
|ALLSTAR B||Rosalind Canter (GBR)||45.6||10|
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