This will be the seventh consecutive visit to Badminton for British-based Australian Olympian Sam Griffiths (46) who with Paulank Brockagh – won the Mitisubishi Motors trophy in 2014. The pair was 15th last year and has six Badminton completions together.
Sam has been based in the UK for over 20-years; he runs a yard near Gillingham in Dorset. In 2016 with Badminton entry Paulank Brockagh he was a member of the bronze medal team at the Rio Olympic Games – the pair was fourth individually – and in 2014 a member of the Australian team for the 2014 WEG in France. He was named the 2014 Eventing ‘rider of the year’ by the International Riders Club. In 2017 after Badminton, a visit to a specialist revealed the niggling neck injury sustained in a fall at Belton, was due to a cracked vertebra. Sam missed the summer season – a fellow countryman Shane Rose took over his rides – and returned to the saddle in September to take eighth place at Pau CCI4* with Brockagh.
Sam grew up on a small farm near Melbourne and started riding on his mothers’ homebred Welsh section B ponies. After gaining a BA in geography he took a year out to travel and to earn money took a job with UK based Blyth Tait and then a show jumping yard in New York. In 1995 he made the decision to forge a career in eventing and returned to the UK working for fellow countryman and Olympic gold medallist Matt Ryan. After three years he set up his own yard. After success with Private Colin and Connigar Bay in 2004 and ’08 he was short-listed for the Olympic Games. In 2008 he won the CCI3* in Saumur with the German-bred Happy Times and the following year (2009) Happy Times gave Sam his then best ever result when third at Badminton. In 2010 the combination was selected for the WEG in Lexington but failed to complete. They bounced back in 2011 to take fourth place at Badminton. In 2012 the pair was a member of the Australian team for the London Olympic Games brought in when reserve rider Megan Jones had to withdraw. While they failed to complete after a fall they then went to Burghley where they finished in ninth place. The pair has four Burghley completions under their belt – in 2014 they were third – and last year 2018 Happy Times was retired from competition at the event.
Sam trains with Ros Morgan and Gareth Hughes. Sam has a 6-year-old son Ollie and a 4-year-old daughter Eliza Alice from his former marriage. Sam enjoys watching sport, gardening and time with the children.
Billy Liffy is a 12-year-old British-bred gelding. He was bred by the Billy Stud and is by their jumping stallion Billy Congo (with William Funnell won team gold at the 2013 European Championships). He is out of the mare Shannon Line by the thoroughbred Golden Bash – Shannon Line is also the dam of Badminton entry Billy Walk On (Pippa Funnell). Liffy came to Sam at the beginning of last season when Sam was asked by the owners to look for a horse. He was formerly and successfully ridden by Olivia Craddock – the pair had good placings at three-star level. With Sam in 2018 he was eighth at Saumur and completed Boekelo.
16.2hh , chestnut , gelding
Sire Billy Congo
Dam Shannon Line (Golden Bash)
Breeder Donal Barnwell
Jonathan & Claudia Rothermere, Gillingham, Dorset
16.2hh , bay , mare
Dam Calendar Girl (Triggerero )
Breeder Paula Cullen
Stephen & Dinah Posford, Chobham, Surrey
Juliet Carter, Chobham, Surrey