Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Best Field Yet to Ride into Trials

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Best Field Yet to Ride into Trials

Article excerpt

HUGH Thomas has hailed a star-studded entry list for this year's Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials as the finest in its illustrious history.

German Michael Jung - the world, Olympic and European champion - will make his Badminton debut, heading an 85-strong field which also includes world number one Andrew Nicholson and leading British contender William Fox-Pitt.

Badminton director and the event's cross-country course designer Thomas said: "I was expecting a very high-class entry. "However, I must admit when all the entries came in and I realised we had virtually all the medallists from the London Olympics, and lots of other good people it really is very exciting.

"I am delighted Michael Jung is here.

"He has often said in the past he has wanted to go to Badminton all his life, but he didn't want to go until he felt he was in with a chance of winning it.

"I was quoted in a magazine a few years ago as saying I thought that particular year's entry was the best field ever and Sue Benson (London 2012 course designer) rang me up and said 'you say that every year!' "This year, I do think it is the best we've had.

"We have a ratings list and we take the top 85 entries based on that. The number of points the 85th rider has won this year is 20 more than we've had in previous years, which is an indication of the level."

Jung, the only rider in eventing history to hold world, Olympic and European individual titles simultaneously, has entered his London 2012 winner La Biosthetique Sam, plus a highclass second ride in Leopin. He will be joined by three colleagues who helped Germany win Olympic team gold in London and another thrilling battle against Britain's finest lies ahead.

Fox-Pitt has entered five horses - including the brilliant challengers Parklane Hawk and Oslo - as he chases the coveted Rolex Grand Slam, which is awarded to any rider who completes consecutive victories at Kentucky, Burghley and Badminton. …

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