Sam Griffiths and PAULANK BROCKAGH win the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials 2014

11 May, 2014 - “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” said the winner of the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials Sam Griffiths.

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.

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).

Final results at Badminton

1 Sam Griffiths/Paulank Brockagh (AUS) 46.3 + 17.6 + 4 = 67.9

2 Oliver Townend/Armada (GBR) 48.7 + 14.0 + 8 = 70.7

3 Harry Meade/Wild Lone (GBR) 51.0 + 16.4 + 4 = 71.4

4 Paul Tapner/Kilronan (AUS) 36.0 + 20.4 + 16 = 72.4

5 Pascal Leroy/Minos de Petra (FRA) 47.3 + 15.2 +10 = 72.5

6 Pippa Funnell/Billy Beware (GBR) 42.3 + 24.0 + 8 = 74.3

7 Tim Lips/Keyflow NOP (NED) 52.5 + 14.0 + 12 = 78.5

8 Ludwig Svennerstal/Alexander (SWE) 53.2 + 18.8 + 8 = 80.0

9 Tim Price/Ringwood Sky Boy (NZL) 50.0 + 11.6 + 19 = 80.6

10 Lara de Liedekerke/Ducati Van Den Overdam (BEL) 49.0 + 26.8 + 8 = 83.8

Riders reactions to cross country

It was a drama packed cross country day at the 2014 Mitsubishi Motors Horse Trials. Here’s what some of the riders had to say about it.

Paul Sims: “I’m really pleased with Glengarnock – it’s disappointing to have had a run out but at least we are home safe. He’s as fit as he’s ever been but was still tired, it takes it out of them.”

Pippa Funnell: “I’m beaming, I spent all night thinking it’s been raining – have I made the right decision? Billy Beware kept digging deep and showed me his class. 15 out of 20 wouldn’t have kept going through Huntsman’s Close, but he did! I’m chuffed!”

Harry Meade: “I had a wonderful ride – Alf (Wild Lone) is a super cross country horse. I said to Rosie (who was looking worried before I set out) that this is what I love doing, and it was a course to get your teeth in to. I wouldn’t have wanted to be sitting on any other horse for this, it was real seat of your pants riding.”

Tim Lips: “I really enjoyed it – I was so nervous  before I started but the crowds were cheering so loudly it was amazing. I’d stopped watching people go before me because it wasn’t good for my confidence!”

Francis Whittington: “Easy Target was jumping beautifully but as I galloped up towards Huntsmans Close there was nothing left in the tank. When we landed over the log [the first element] there was nothing there and two of the biggest corners you will ever see in front of us. Smokey didn’t deserve to be pushed on – I wasn’t concerned that he’d stop, but that he’d try to jump. He’s the most genuine horse.

Nick Gauntlett: “It felt special jumping that last fence today. I now just have to hope that the guy on top doesn’t do anything stupid in the show jumping.”

Tina Cook: “I’m frustrated with our runout – it was a difficult fence but I hadn’t expected that. De Novo News is a young horse so I used the rest of the round as a schooling round. The ground made it hard work out there, but it wasn’t desperate by any means.”

Sam Griffiths: “Paulank Brockagh jumped the first half of the course beautifully, but we were both scrapping and fighting in the second half. She’s a star – she sees a red flag and white flag and does everything she can to jump between them.”

Clare Abbott: “I’m absolutely delighted to have jumped clear. The course rode so much tougher than it walked, but Euro Prince kept responding. I have a phenomenal horse, he’s so game and grows in the start box.”

Austin O’Connor: “Ringwood Mississippi  was more mentally tired than physically tired. He got me out of jail once or twice out there but I’ve done the same for him in the past so I guess we are even now. I couldn’t be happier.”

Lucy Jackson: “I didn’t set out that quickly because you needed enough diesel for the end. Willy Do gave me everything he had and I couldn’t be more proud of him. Everything was out there to be ridden at.”

Oliver Townend: “Armada is unreal. I thought he had bottomless energy but coming up to the Quarry there was nothing there. But he picked himself up and sped up again. He’s was the straightest and most genuine horse out there.”