“When I was a little boy I used to wait for the tapes of Badminton to arrive in Australia so that I could sit down and watch them. I used to dream about riding here, so to come and win is the culmination of that dream.”
Sam Griffiths has climbed the leaderboard from 25th after the dressage to win the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials.
In a thrilling finale, where not a single horse finished their showjumping round penalty-free, Sam’s one fence down on Dinah Posford, Jules Carter and his own mare Paulank Brockagh, was enough to give him his first Mitsubishi Motors title.
“When I was a little boy I used to wait for the tapes of Badminton to arrive in Australia so that I could sit down and watch them,” said Sam. “I used to dream about riding here, so to come and win is the culmination of that dream.”
Oliver Townend was the highest-placed Brit, climbing from 4th place overnight into 2nd despite dislodging two rails on Armada.
“I’m fairly speechless,” admitted Oliver, who praised course-designer Giuseppe Della Chiesa for producing a “true four-star competition.
“At certain points around the cross-course yesterday I was picking up long distances and the horse was jumping off less than ideal strides – I thought, this is what Badminton’s all about.”
Completing an all-male top 3 was Harry Meade, who has made a miraculous comeback following a serious fall last autumn that left him with 2 broken elbows. His cross-country performance on Charlotte Opperman’s Wild Lone was many peoples’ idea of the round of the day. He clocked up 16.4 time penalties to elevate him up the dressage order from equal 46th after the dressage into 8th overnight. Just one rail down in the final phase was enough to give him the 3rd podium position.
Harry said: “Everything that’s happened in the last six months has put things in perspective. I’ve been quite calm all week. I didn’t let myself become too ambitious and I didn’t look at the scoreboard at all – I just enjoyed myself.”
Cross-country leaders Paul Tapner and Kilronan’s four fences down dropped them from 1st to 4th. Frenchman Pascal Leroy (Minos De Petra) added 8 jumping and 2 time penalties to finish 5th, ahead of Pippa Funnell (Billy Beware), who clocked up 4 jumping and 4 time.
7th was Dutch rider Tim Lips (Keyflow NOP), 8th was Sweden’s Ludwig Svennerstal (Alexander), 9th was New Zealander Tim Price (Ringwood Sky Boy) and rounding up the top 10 was Belgium’s Lara De Liedekerke (Ducati Van Den Overdam).