In a nail-biting showjumping finale, New Zealander Jonathan (“Jock”) Paget turned in the performance of his career so far to lift the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials trophy.
Lying second overnight, the 29-year-old Badminton first-timer rode an immaculate clear aboard Francis Stead’s Clifton Promise to pile the pressure on the overnight leader Michael Jung with La Biosthetique Sam. The reigning Olympic, World and European Champion looked to have victory in the bag, but a late-falling rail at the final fence saw his chances of adding Badminton to his CV evaporate.
“I used to watch videos of Badminton, thinking it would be cool to be there one day – and now I am!” said Jock. “[Clifton Promise] is quite tricky – it’s like riding two different horses. But I’ve asked him a lot of questions over the past week and he’s answered every one.”
Michael was philosophical in defeat: “[Sam] jumped today with a lot of power. Perhaps I came into the final fence a little fast and flat, but I have been very happy with him all week. [Coming to Badminton] has been a great experience – the weather and the conditions have been fantastic.”
Andrew Nicholson’s clear round on Deborah Sellar’s Nereo was enough to secure him third spot when William Fox-Pitt and Catherine Witt’s Parklane Hawk lowered a rail and slipped to fifth. This means that Pippa Funnell’s Rolex Grand Slam achievement of being only rider ever to have won Kentucky, Badminton and Burghley consecutively, still stands.
“I knew I had to jump a clear round and I was focused on what I had to do,” said Andrew. “Nereo is a very good jumper and he jumped very well. It’s been an exciting week with the Rolex Grand Slam and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being part of it.”
Germany’s Sandra Auffarth and Opgun Louvo rose one place from fifth to fourth with a final day clear, while Italian Stefano Brecciaroli and Apollo VD Wendi Kurt Hoeve rounded off the top six.
The top six in this year’s Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials:
1 Jonathan Paget and Clifton Promise NZL (39.7)
2 Michael Jung and La Biosthetique-Sam GER FBW (40)
3 Andrew Nicholson and Nereo NZL (40.2)
4 Sandra Auffarth and Opgun Louvo GER (42.5)
5 William Fox-Pitt and Parklane Hawk GBR (44)
6 Stefano Brecciaroli and Apollo VD Wendi Kurt Hoeve (46.8)
For the full results click here.