What a finish to the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials 2013. No Rolex Grand Slam winner (I wonder if the bosses are actually relieved they don’t have to pay out $350.000?). And with an incredible twist of fate, the favourite – and leader from the very start – current World, European and Olympic Champion Michael Jung had the very last fence down.
It was a moment I’ll never forget – the whole crowd had pretty much accepted he’d gone clear and claimed the title. A whoop began to go round…. and then as he cantered away to the finish, the pole fell. There wasn’t even a collective ‘OH NO’. Everything fell silent as several thousand people found themselves speechless.
This left the title with New Zealand rider Jonathan Paget who had kept quietly calm and confident throughout the competition. Apart from a very scary moment at the trot up this morning when his winning horse Clifton Promise was sent to the holding box, he has had an incredible first Badminton, on top form from start to finish. It was the clear round showjumping – his first at 4 star level – that finally won it for him.
All that remains to be said is that Charlotte Agnew, sporting leather hot pants and high heels at the trot up, has seriously raised the bar for glamour in Eventing and probably given a few aging officials something to think about until next year.
I have to say the concensus here is that this has been one of the best Badminton’s in memory and Event Director High Thomas agrees – he even suggested he might retire on a good note (I talked him out of it).
Until next year… goodbye for now KJ