“I can’t wait” – I have heard this phrase so many times over the past weeks and now we have nearly arrived at the “kick-off”. The excitement is mounting and the Park is full of contractors building the “Badminton Village”. Eric Winter’s cross-country course is having the finishing touches put to it and the Mars Equestrian “M” is standing tall in the middle of the Park. The Voltaire Design Grassroots Championships track is also near completion. How wonderful it all looks after three years of famine. I sometimes have to pinch myself that it is all actually happening!
We had fun filming last week, both for a short preview video, in which Eric Winter and Andrew Nicholson give an entertaining and great insight to this year’s course and this is now live on BadmintonTV. The second filming was for the Cross-Country App, which gives riders and spectators another aspect to the course.
Mark Lucey was here yesterday measuring the going on the course and the overall ground assessment result was “good”. I have just had a meeting with the site and course building teams and we continue to work towards maintaining these excellent results over the next two weeks.
The Tuesday of this week was memorable for two reasons. We gathered, by invitation of The Duke and Duchess of Beaufort, in the North Hall of Badminton House for the unveiling of the new Badminton Horse Trials trophy, which I have to say, having been in the making for three years, bought a tear to my eye when I first saw it – it is even more stunning than I thought it would be. Judy Boyt has done a wonderful job again.
This was followed by the Draw, which is always an exciting moment! Alex Harbottle sighed with relief when the last horse out of the hat fitted into the list of runners! The owners and riders are regularly in touch with Alex, who this year has taken over from me looking after all the different queries and requests. We really do appreciate how scary it must be for those riders that have not been at Badminton before, but we are all here to help and make your Badminton experience a good one.
A final reminder that there are no vehicle or admission tickets on the gate, so please make sure you and your friends have their tickets to hand by 12 midnight the day prior to your visit. There will be no entry for anyone without a ticket. Please continue to spread the word!
BadmintonTV is gaining momentum with the preview video of the course already added and an exclusive interview with Tom McEwen going out this Friday. Visit https://www.badminton-horse.co.uk/badminton-tv/ to purchase your 365-day pass, which will provide live coverage and on-demand coverage of this year’s event together with more than 75 hours footage of past events, etc.
I and the team here much look forward to seeing you all at the beginning of May, which really will be the final jigsaw piece of the Badminton family being back together again and I hope everyone will have a very happy time. Please may the sun shine!