Badminton, England - Mark Todd and NZB Land Vision win the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials after a nail-biting finale that went right to the wire.
Just a single pole separated the top 12 going into this afternoon’s final showjumping phase and Mark kept a clean sheet to claim the title for a fourth time, 31 years after he first won Badminton aboard Southern Comfort. At 55, this makes Mark the oldest winner in the history of the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials.
“I am very grateful to my sponsors, NZB Bloodstock Ltd, for buying me such a fantastic horse. I think the world of him – he’s probably the best I’ve ever had,” said Mark, who took on the 11-year-old grey from Oliver Townend in late 2008. Mark officially “retired” from eventing after the Sydney Olympics in 2000, when he returned to New Zealand to train racehorses. But eight years later he was back on the circuit and competed at the 2008 Hong Kong Olympics with NZB Gandalf. “I retired because I ran out of motivation, but once I had been back home for a while I started missing the sport,” he said.
Overnight second-placed rider, Marina Kohncke, had one rail down and two time faults on Calma Schelly to drop to ninth, opening the door for those below her. Piggy French took advantage of this, moving up to second with Wally French and Michael Underwood’s Jakata. “To finish in the top three is a dream come true,” she said. “Showjumping is the phase I feel most comfortable with, so I wasn’t too nervous before I went in. I knew that I had to just do my best.”
Evergreen Mary King’s clear round on Sue and Eddie Davies’ and Janette Chin’s Imperial Cavalier ensured her third spot. “This is the reason I am still in the sport and still loving it,” said Mary at the final press conference. “I’m particularly pleased to be sitting here next to Piggy as she used to write me fan letters as a little girl and I would reply to her – now maybe it’s me who should be writing her letters!” Sam Griffiths and Happy Times rose up the order from eighth to fourth with a clear round, while Badminton first-timer Niklas Lindback scored a great result for Sweden by taking fifth place, ahead of Caroline Powell and Lenamore.
Badminton Horse Trials: http://www.badminton-horse.co.uk