Jonelle Price has won the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials — the first CCI4* title of her career — and narrowly denied a Rolex Grand Slam fairytale for Britain's Oliver Townend.
Jonelle, who rides for New Zealand but has been based in the UK for a number of years, showjumped clear aboard Classic Moet to beat Britain’s Oliver Townend, who finished second aboard Cooley SRS.
As the reigning Land Rover Burghley and Kentucky winner, Oliver was in the running for the US$350,000 Rolex Grand Slam if he could win Badminton too — the three CCI4*s have to be won consecutively for it to count — and he came close to achieving it. Jonelle pipped him by 5.1 penalties.
Classic Moet doesn’t have the cleanest showjumping record and she tapped most of the fences today, but they all stayed upright to record one of only five clears.
“This is the first time she’s jumped clear on the last day,” smiled Jonelle.
“Some great horses go through their career without winning a big one and I was hoping she would get one. I’m really happy for the mare and her owner, Trisha Rickards.”
Jonelle is the first female winner in 11 years, since Lucinda Fredericks triumphed in 2007. It’s all the more impressive when you consider that she missed much of last season due to having her first baby, a son called Otis.
Classic Moet is also the first mare to pull off victory here since Paulank Brockagh in 2014.
“That’s just the icing on the cake,” added Jonelle.
Cooley SRS pulled off a clear showjumping round with Oliver Townend, whose other mount, last year’s Ballaghmor Class, kicked out two showjumps to slip from second overnight to fifth.
“One horse second and the other fifth at Badminton — that’s not bad is it?” said Oliver.
“OK I haven’t got the Grand Slam but these are both young horses and I’m very happy with how they’ve performed this week.”
Ros Canter and Allstar B finished third.
“I’m just so, so proud of him,” said Ros.
Two more British riders finished inside the top 10: Gemma Tattersall with Arctic Soul (fourth) and Tom McEwen aboard Toledo De Kerser (seventh).
“To go double clear at Badminton three years in a row, I mean wow — what a horse,” said Gemma.
Mark Todd piloted Kiltubrid Rhapsody into sixth with one showjump down. He was also 14th on Leonidas II, who kicked out three.
“It’s a big, up to height and square showjumping track and the ground is still a bit holding so horses aren’t getting much spring off it,” said Mark.
“Kiltubrid Rhapsody jumped his socks off and was just unlucky, but three down isn’t like Leonidas.”
Ireland’s Padraig McCarthy finished eighth with Mr Chunky, ahead of American Lauren Kieffer with Veronica.
An uncharacteristic two fences down by La Biosthetique Sam FBW saw this great horse finished 10th with Germany’s Michael Jung.
Check out all our Badminton news and stories at www.yourhorse.co.uk/badminton-2018.