An action-packed cross-country day prompted a reshuffle of the leaderboard at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials, but it’s still a British one-two overnight with just the final horse inspection and showjumping phase to go tomorrow.
Four British riders remain inside the top 10, with some monumental climbs up the placings by the few horses who managed to achieve the 11mins 45secs optimum time.
Scroll down to see pictures of the top 10 in action.
1, Ballaghmor Class
Oliver Townend GBR (21.5pens)
Oliver Townend is still out in front, but his 2017 Burghley winner Ballaghmor Class galloped ahead of stablemate Cillnabradden Evo with a quicker cross-country clear that was just one second adrift of the optimum time.
The grey was second after dressage and has a fence in hand going into tomorrow’s final showjumping phase.
“That was him at his best,” said Oliver. “I just wanted to show the world what he’s capable of. He’s a phenomenal athlete.”
2, Vanir Kamira
Piggy French GBR (26.8pens)
Piggy French and Vanir Kamira stopped the clock two seconds over the optimum time to climb two places to second.
“She’s a little fighter across country — I have to remember that when we come out of the startbox,” said Piggy. “If something goes to try for you it’s her. It niggles me that we can’t quite get in the time at this level because she’s so fast and she finished so well. I clearly hang around out there.”
3, Graf Liberty
Christopher Burton AUS (27.7pens)
Only five horses came home without time-penalties to add and this horse was the first to achieve that feat — stopping the clock bang on the optimum. The Aussie rider was ninth after dressage and has moved up to third as a result.
“Riding around Badminton is a big thrill; clearly when you go as well as that around Badminton it’s a very big thrill,” said Christopher.
4, Swallow Springs
Andrew Nicholson NZL (27.8pens)
This pair cruised around Eric Winter’s 33-fence track and crossed the finish line with zero faults to add to their first-phase score.
5, Cooley Lands
Christopher Burton AUS (28.1pens)
Christopher also steered this horse home clear inside the time to double his chances in tomorrow’s finale, as both charges now sit inside the top five.
6,Ringwood Sky Boy
Tim Price NZL (30.1pens)
Tim pulled up his first horse, Bango, following braking issues and a run-out, but this horse — Ringwood Sky Boy — breezed around to finish penalty-free.
The reigning Burghley winner was the second horse to stop the clock bang on the optimum time. They are 8.6 faults behind the leaders — can they add this title to their tally tomorrow?
7, Cillnabradden Evo
Oliver Townend GBR (32.1pens)
The overnight leaders came home clear with 12.4 time-faults to add.
8, Star Nouveau
Ginny Thompson NZL (38.3pens)
This duo leaped up the leaderboard from 57th after dressage when they stormed home inside the optimum time.
9, Lassban Diamond Lift
Bill Levett AUS (39.9pens)
This pair improved 20 places on their dressage position when finishing clear and with eight time-faults to add.
10, Billy The Red
Tina Cook GBR (40.5pens)
Tina and Billy The Red complete the business end of the leaderboard with a confident clear for 12.4 time-faults to add.
Photos by Mitsubishi Motors/Kit Houghton
View the full results here.
Tomorrow’s showjumping phase kicks off at 11am, with the top 20 horses jumping at 2pm. There is the final horse inspection to get through first, in front of Badminton House at 8.30am.
Come back to yourhorse.co.uk/badminton-2019 tomorrow to see the final 10.