Ros Canter and the “ultimate event horse” Lordships Graffalo were victorious at this year’s Badminton Horse Trials, presented by Mars Equestrian, finishing the showjumping clear after entering the final day of competition with two fences in hand. The 2018 World Champion and 11-year-old gelding completed a faultless round, ending with a standing ovation from the crowd.

“I knew I just had to take my time and try to keep calm,” said Ros. “I had the benefit that my earlier horse [Ros and Pencos Crown Jewel finished ninth] kept me a bit busy.”

Ros paid tribute to Michelle Saul’s ‘Walter’, who was runner-up at last year’s event, describing him as “unbelievable”.

“He’s the ultimate event horse, it’s what he’s made for,” she said. “I don’t even know if I dreamt of [winning Badminton]. When I think back to my Pony Club days, I can’t believe it’s come to this.”

1, Ros Canter and Lordships Graffalo

Ros and Walter secured a huge winning margin – 15 penalties – the largest of modern times.

“We all love Walter, and he had to dig deeper today than ever before,” said Ros. “He’s been amazing every day this week and we all love him to pieces.

“I probably felt at my most calm when I actually got in the ring and had a job to do. I have the most amazing team around me […] that helped me to do a good job.

“Winning Badminton is what dreams are made of, it will take a while to sink in. It’s extremely exciting and a long old journey to get to something like this.”

2, Oliver Townend and Ballaghmor Class

Oliver Townend and Ballaghmor Class secured second place with one fence down. The 16-year-old gelding has an incredible record, winning Burghley in 2017, Kentucky in 2021 and Olympic Gold in Tokyo 2021. Oliver has competed at Badminton four times and never been out of the top five.

“I’ve had him since he was four and he definitely makes life more exciting for all of us,” said Oliver. “We’re proud to be associated with him. He’s a very special horse.

“He’s had too many second places – blame the jockey – but it’s a huge relief that he’s had yet another good result.

“Any of the horses who have finished are winners, it was not an easy week.”

3, Austin O’Connor and Colorado Blue

Austin, the first Irish rider to finish on the Badminton podium in almost 40 years, slipped to third place after having two rails. He was full of praise for 14-year-old ‘Salty’, one of the world’s most highly rated cross-country horses.

“He’s an incredible horse and it’s a privilege to ride him,” he said. “The result is personally great for me, but I hope it will give Irish eventing a lift.”

4, Tom McEwen and Toledo de Kerser

“He was phenomenal, he’s finished off so well,” said Tom of the 16-year-old gelding, with whom he won team Olympic gold and individual silver at the Tokyo Games.

“It was a totally class clear. He loves these phases when everyone is watching him. He’s a showman and this is what he’s made for – what a horse.”

5, Tom Jackson and Capels Hollow Drift

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – what a horse,” said Tom upon completing his round with the 16-year-old gelding. “I expected him to be a bit on the tired side today but he’s come out full of beans and jumping like a stag. It’s one of those occasions where everything goes to plan.”

6, Gemma Stevens and Jalapeno

“I was just a little bit off on the last fence and she just had that down,” said Gemma. “But she’s finished so well and she’s feeling amazing.”

Describing this year’s challenging conditions, as a “journey”, she added that it had been “a bit of a marathon”.

“I’m very happy to finish with a very happy sound horse,” she said of the 15-year-old chestnut mare, who is by William Fox-Pitt’s Badminton champion Chilli Morning.

7, Tim Price and Vitali

Kiwi Tim and 13-year-old gelding Vitali finished seventh with three fences down, following an impressive and energetic cross-country round yesterday, despite the ground conditions.

8, Bubby Upton and Cola

Bubby finished eighth aboard 13-year-old gelding Cola.

“I simply couldn’t have wished for a more gutsy or loyal partner to tackle that unbelievably tough track with,” she said upon completing the cross-country yesterday.

9, Ros Canter and Pencos Crown Jewel

“She was absolutely fantastic today,” said Ros of the 14-year-old mare. “She just had a couple at the end through feeling a bit weary but I’m very proud of her.”

Ros said her horses will be going on holiday for a “good break” before making a plan for the end of the year.

10, Pippa Funnell and Majas Hope

Three-time Badminton winner Pippa topped off the top 10 with 16-year-old gelding Majas Hope.

To view the full results, click here.

To watch Badminton retrospectively, click here.

Photos by Trevor Holt

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