Lucinda’s six of the best

Wednesday 7th - 11th May 2025

Lucinda’s six of the best

Badminton legend LUCINDA GREEN has won a record six times on six different horses. She has been looking back at how the event has changed — and yet not changed — since her first victory in 1973

‘I can’t believe I have been around for so long. Back in the day there was very much the ‘Badminton factor’ on the cross country; there would invariably be two or three fences that riders had no idea how to ride or how they would jump. Bar one, before my day, they always worked. Frank Weldon [director and course-designer] scared the pants off the riders, but he didn’t scare the horses, he understood them so well.

‘For me, the fence closest to a Frank question this year is the Eyelashes (Le Mieux Eyelash Brushes, 15abc). I have no idea how it’s going to ride and I’m really intrigued. I’ve heard all sorts of talk among the riders as to how to approach it and it’s exciting, Eric Winter [course-designer] has found a fence where we don’t know what’s going to happen.’

‘All my winning horses were fantastically different. These days, they wouldn’t be considered to have a lot of ability but they were all triers and, without doubt, trusted me. For me, that’s a really important commodity.

‘Be Fair (1973) was backwards in coming forwards; he’d “suck back” as if to say “are you sure, mum?”. You had to be strong in those last few strides.

‘Wideawake (1975) was exactly the reverse. He tended to run into, and hit, fences, but when he got to Badminton he gave me the ride of a lifetime. He backed himself off and jumped beautifully. Unusually, I had a premonition that he was going to win – and then he dropped dead on the lap of honour.

‘George (1977) was different again. He smashed across the ditch on the steeplechase, taking the guard rail with him, and I thought he would never get around the cross country. I said to Elaine Straker [owner] that he’d never manage the bounce into the Lake – the first bounce into water we’d ever seen. She grabbed my knee and said: “George has hunted, he’ll look after you”, and he jolly well did.

‘Killaire (1979) was different again. He had tiny little strides and struggled to make the time, but his middle name was “Try”.

‘Regal Realm (1983), an Australian stock horse, was a much faster model. He was in a class of his own, a very good horse. He had so much scope. Gosh he was clever.

‘Finally, there was Beagle Bay (1984) who was really ordinary, a pony on longer legs and had a bit of a stop in him – he was the least expected of the six.’

Memorable winners of the 21st century

‘Jonelle Price and Classic Moet, who came from 18th place after dressage to win on cross-country speed in 2018 – what a fabulous little mare – and Sam Griffiths and Paulank Brockagh working their way up the order in that very wet year (2014). And I will never forget Mark Todd coming out of retirement and winning on Land Vision in 2011 – he was such a genius. I remember catching his eye and the look said “how can this be possible?’

Who to watch this year?

‘I am looking forward to watching everyone, but especially Ros Canter, Bubby Upton and William Fox-Pitt. It will be an exciting day.’