It’s time! One I got done grumbling at my alarm this morning (which was honestly quite a bit later than the 12:30 a.m. alarms for dressage days) it was time to get excited about Badminton cross country. The day looks to have dawned in perfect weather and we are all settled in for what is sure to be an excellent day of action.
I’ll be providing live updates here, but I strongly encourage you to pick up a Badminton TV pass to watch for yourself. No, they aren’t paying me to say that (I wish!), but I just appreciate the efforts made to put the live stream on. I know that not everyone can comfortable pay the $25 for the pass, but if you can manage it, it makes a difference. You can sign up here and you’ll receive access to the live stream plus on demand replays for a full year.
Refresh this page for updates if you can’t follow along live! Our first pair will be out on course at 11:30 a.m. BST / 6:30 a.m. EST / 3:30 a.m. PST. I’m thinking SAFE, clear and fast thoughts for all!
8:02 a.m. EST: Tamie has a strong ride at the Nyetimber Corners and is now safely through the Solar Farm at 24. Come on, Mai Baum!
8:00 a.m. EST: 10.8 time for Z, who’s pretty tired coming home but has another clear round under his belt. Tamie comes to the MARS Sustainability Bay.
7:59 a.m. EST: Bundy runs into trouble and retires after two stops at the Nyetimber Corners where Kirsty had her difficulty. Z is into the main arena!
7:58 a.m. EST: We now catch up with Phillip, who’s heading for home with Z. Z is looking a bit tired but he’s still galloping away from everything and hasn’t lost his jump. I apologize I’m not quicker with exact scores — my live fence report is not working at the moment!
7:58 a.m. EST: Tamie has a wonderful ride through the Badminton Lake — Lexus is looking really keen and rideable so far.
7:56 a.m. EST: Bummer! Lillian has fallen from LCC Barnaby….not quite sure which fence but maybe the MARS M? She looked almost able to save it but can’t quite hold on. Tamie is clear through the Huntsmans Close.
7:55 a.m. EST: Now on course and safely through the HorseQuest Quarry at 4 are Tamie Smith and Mai Baum.
7:54 a.m. EST: Phillip Dutton and Z are safely through the LeMieux Leap at 18.
7:53 a.m. EST: Lillian holds her line and gets LCC Barnaby through the Solar Farm at 24, nice ride! Bundy Philpott navigates the Huntsmans Close with Tresca NZPH.
7:51 a.m. EST: Oliver Townend is now listed as Eliminated on live scores. When he climbed over the out of the Quarry there were a lot of questions as to whether or not he’d made it over that fence, so this might be the reason. We now have Phillip Dutton and Z on course and at the Badminton Lake, fence 10. Piggy is home clear with 1 second of time aboard Vanir Kamira.
7:50 a.m. EST: Lillian Heard is safely over the Ford Broken Bridge — LCC Barnaby’s the first one to give that one a bit of a peak but they’re over it!
7:47 a.m. EST: Bill Levett is home clear with just some time aboard Lassban Diamond Lift. Piggy’s clear through the Vicarage Vee question at 23 and she’s now through the bounce at the Lightsource bp Solar Farm, fence 24.
7:46 a.m. EST: The Ford Broken Bridge has, as anticipated, ridden quite well today. Here’s a great shot from Piggy and Vanir Kamira:
7:45 a.m. EST: Our first U.S. rider is on course: Lillian Heard and LCC Barnaby will be the American trailblazers.
7:42 a.m. EST: Now on course is Australia’s Bill Levett with his first right, Lassban Diamond Lift. 2019 winners Piggy March and Vanir Kamira are clear through the Huntsmans Close at 6.
7:39 a.m. EST: Bummer, Billy Walk On may have lost a bit of his confidence with this hairy moment at the 14, the KBIS Brush Village. He then grinds to a halt at the drop into the MARS Sustainability Bay at 17 and Pippa puts her hand up.
7:37 a.m. EST: Well, Oliver seems to have made the time coming home about 13 seconds inside the time. The hold may have benefitted this horse a bit, but we also know Oliver’s got a good clock running in his head.
7:36 a.m. EST: Pippa and Billy Walk On are clear through the Badminton Lake. The middle section of this course is fairly intense, with a lot of turning and twists. The time today is going to be really difficult to make with this in mind.
7:34 a.m. EST: A very nice ride through the bounce at the Solar Farm for Oliver and Swallow Springs — the horses will read this fine if they can have a moment to suss out the fact that there’s a bounce there and Tom’s ride will have informed the riders to use some caution here.
7:33 a.m. EST: Pippa Funnell and Billy Walk On quietly pop the HorseQuest Quarry, while Oliver navigates the Nyetimber Corners at 20.
7:30 a.m. EST: Allstar B is looking keen after his break to catch wind, and they’re coming back into the main arena to finish. It’ll be a clear round, she definitely early on looked to be close to or on the time. We’ll see what her final time is.
7:29 a.m. EST: We’re back underway and will next see Pippa Funnell with her first ride, Billy Walk On.
7:24 a.m. EST: It looks like they’re taking the fence Nicola fell at off the course, so it’ll be just the MARS M and not the corner at fence 27 going forward. Oliver is back on Swallow Springs so I think we should be getting back underway shortly. I’m doing my best to have ears on the ground to find out a status on Nicola and will provide that as soon as I know more.
7:22 a.m. EST: While we’re on the hold, here are some remarks from William Fox-Pitt, who put in a cracking clear with just about seven seconds of time:
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“I’m getting quite emotional. It was quite exciting. I was dreading it, of course, in my old age, thinking what the hell am I doing? Do I really want to be here today on Saturday morning, I’d like to be at home in my bed!”
“I was very lucky, he’s a lovely, classic horse and you’ve experienced now he’s done Badminton the last time around and many horses here haven’t, so he’s got that in his belt.”
7:10 a.m. EST: Regarding Nicola, both she and JL Dublin went down at the corner that comes after the MARS M. They looked to get there on just a slightly off stride and just seemed to slide over the top, causing the horse to fall and roll over. The horse was up right away, Nicola was not. That’s the only thing we know so far.
7:09 a.m. EST: Here’s a look at Ros Canter navigating the bounce at the Solar Farm, where Tom came to grief:
7:06 a.m. EST: Now Oliver will go onto a hold after the Lake. We’re on a hold for Nicola’s fall, which I apologize as I got the fence wrong — it happened at fence 27, the MARS M. We’ll keep you updated on Nicola as we know more. Oliver is off his horse walking it around.
7:05 a.m. EST: Ros Canter growls at Allstar B at the corner out of the Nyetimber Corners at 20 and gets the job done.
7:03 a.m. EST: Oliver survives a crazy save at the HorseQuest Quarry when Swallow Springs didn’t quite read the C element. They climb all over and almost go down but Oliver manages to keep his seat. We’re not on a hold at this point which is a good sign for Nicola..
6:59 a.m. EST: Nicola Wilson and JL Dublin have had a bad fall at the Lake. We’ll try to keep you updated.
6:58 a.m. EST: A brilliant clear round for William Fox-Pitt, who collects a bit of time but not much to go onto a 34.4 overnight. This will not be a bad score at the end of the day!
6:57 a.m. EST: Nicola Wilson is just about bang on the optimum time as she comes to the MARS Sustainability Bay at 17. Reigning World Champions Ros Canter and Allstar B safely navigate the Huntsmans Close.
6:55 a.m. EST: Honestly it looked like William might make the same blip as Tom did at the Solar Farm, but Oratorio manages the bounce stride. This will be informing the riders watching in the tent.
6:55 a.m. EST: Nicola Wilson and JL Dublin, reigning European Champions, are now on course and have made it to the Badminton Lake at 10. Man, the wind just went out of my sails a bit after that crash from Tom and Toledo! I’ll try to keep you updated on them, I’m hoping he’s been caught.
6:50 a.m. EST: *@&$*$#($*! Bless Toledo de Kerser, who just came in way too hot to the bounce at 24, the Lightsource bp Solar Farm. They both take a big tumble and Toledo runs off — hopefully he’s caught. Man what a shame. It was a brilliant round.
6:47 a.m. EST: William Fox-Pitt is now on course and safely navigates the HorseQuest Quarry with Oratorio. Tom McEwen takes a much more efficient line over the World Horse Welfare Lakeside table with running water on top of it.
6:46 a.m. EST: Joseph Murphy coaxes Cesar V into the water at 17, MARS Sustainability Bay. Tom has made it to the Lake at 10.
6:45 a.m. EST: “Wow…that was exceptional,” says Ian Stark as Tom navigates the Voltaire Design Huntsmans Close at 6 — this is another that gave us the weird vibes when looking at the line, but the first few riders have made a straight forward line look very doable.
6:44 a.m. EST: Toledo de Kerser makes the HorseQuest Quarry make like a gymnastic exercise as we’d anticipate with a horse of his experience level. It’s been really cool to watch this horse mature — he’s always been keen and genuine, but he’s gotten even smarter about knowing where he’s going.
6:42 a.m. EST: Now on course, Tom McEwen and Toledo de Kerser who were your early leaders all the way through yesterday and could still threaten to win with a clear round today.
6:42 a.m. EST: Padraig is then the farthest around the course, now at the same area where Kirsty has his trouble. He just hangs on to make that corner work and is through!
6:39 a.m. EST: Ah! Rats! Kirsty’s day sadly comes to an end at the corner at fence 20, the Nyetimber Corners. It’s a dip that puts you on the line to the corner at 20 — a tough approach that demands accuracy. Meanwhile, Joseph Murphy runs into a bit of trouble early on at the HorseQuest Quarry, as Cesar V just dips out to the left over the C element.
6:37 a.m. EST: Kirsty sees a strong shot over the corner leaving the lake earlier on — quite a turn coming after that if you find a big spot!
6:36 a.m. EST: On course and through the HorseQuest Quarry at 4 is Padraig McCarthy and Fallulah. Kirsty safely navigates the big Ford Broken Bridge easily — I think this will ride quite well today despite its imposing look.
6:33 a.m. EST: Kirsty makes fence 6ABC: Voltaire Design Huntsman’s Close look a lot simpler than the lines looked to be walking on the ground. Classic VI is really letting her ride him forward and turn him when needed. A nice trailblazing round for the riders to see back in the tent so far.
6:28 a.m. EST: Ian Stark, former designer here, comments that this might be Eric Winter’s finest track in his four years of designing Badminton. It’s intense, but the general feeling from the riders is that everything is jumpable and fair to the horses, which is the most important part of a designer’s job.
Our first to see will be Australia’s Kirsty Chabbert with Classic VI, coming forward in 37th on a score of 32.8. And we are underway!