The top 3 riders’ comments, in their own words.
“It was really a very good round today, Sam was in very good form, galloping very easily and fast forward, he jumped very well, just a very bad situation in the first water, (but he managed to), directly concentrate to the next fence.”
He said that Sam was “fresh at the finish,” and that he is “looking forward to the next day.”
Asked about his experience of Badminton, he said “it is amazing when you are jumping on the course, so many people are coming” and that the crowd’s enthusiasm helps to “lift you over the fences.”
I asked whether he was surprised that he made it to the brush fence in the first water (because we all were!) and he gave all the credit to his horse, saying “he managed the situation very perfect” and “he was very good on (meaning ‘to’) the leg.”
“Promise always sets off a bit strong and nervous and wears himself out, so I try to keep a lid on him. He’s a TB so he never gets tired.”
He said that he had planned to go on 4 strides from the drop into water at The Lake but realised on landing that he wasn’t going to get there, changed his plans and got “a dodgy 5” and that he “did 5 on the next one and it was better.”
His two horses are very different. Parklane Hawk is more experienced, has done Burghley twice and Kentucky. Oslo has just done Pau. If it had gotten very wet, Parklane Hawk would have coped with that. He was “disappointed I couldn’t steer Oslo to the last corner, and that’s not like him… I managed to hang onto my reins on 2nd horse.”
“I went the long way on Parklane Hawk because I thought I could… previous to that it hadn’t entered my mind that I could. I couldn’t take that risk again, Parklane Hawk is a good galloper and the time was proving easy to get.”
He played down the Rolex Grand Slam situation.
“I am not sitting in the lead, I’ve got to rely on these 2 guys to make mistakes and this one [turning to Michael Jung sitting beside him] doesn’t make many mistakes.”
“There’s a long way to go, the trot up, I’ve got to show-jump clear, until I’ve done that there’s nothing to get excited about.”
Question to Michael Jung “Would it be emotional to win.”
Michael Jung replied “Badminton is a competition with a very high tradition. When I was a young boy it was a dream for me to ride at Badminton… to be in 1st place after xc, it is amazing.”