Jung’s Badminton, Jung’s Grand Slam

Badminton triumph for Michael Jung means he wins the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing. He truly is a phenomenal rider, and even his fellow German, Andreas Ostholt, called him "an alien!" He certainly is the total package when it comes to event riding.

Michael Jung and La Biosthetique Sam never looked like rolling a poll. (Image: Libby Law Photography)
Michael Jung and La Biosthetique Sam never looked like rolling a poll.
(Image: Libby Law)

What a finish to an amazing competition, and congratulations Michael Jung, with your beautiful La Biosthetique Sam FBW, for not only winning Badminton 2016 but for winning the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing.

The show jumping phase was its normal test of nerves, with rails falling on a regular basis, but in what was a very unusual achievement, the top four all jumped clear so those placings remained the same as they were after cross-country. German Andreas Ostholt was second on So Is Et, with the Englishwoman Gemma Tattersall third on Arctic Soul.

Sir Mark Todd and Leonidas II, delivered yet another clear show jumping round. (Image: Libby Law Photography)
Sir Mark Todd and Leonidas II, delivered yet another clear show jumping round
(Image: Libby Law)

Five New Zealand riders finished in the top 13. What an awesome result. Congratulations to Sir Mark with Leonidas II, finishing fourth on his dressage score of 44.8. A great result for a great rider and we really like this horse. “I don’t think he put a toe on any fence,” said Sir Mark on an interview with Badminton Radio. “He is a very, very good jumper, he felt amazing today, he has come through the cross-country in brilliant order. I don’t think he has had a fence down in a three-day yet. That gives you a bit of confidence going in there. It wasn’t the most difficult track, it wasn’t really that big and it wasn’t technical but the nerves are still there, you can’t afford to make a mistake and thankfully he didn’t.”

When asked what was next, Sir Mark said Leo would have a bit of a break but that obviously the Olympics were the next big thing for him, and he has the choice of either Leonidas II or NZB Campino. “Hopefully they will be fit and ready to go and then I will have the difficult choice of deciding which one goes.”

Clarke Johnstone and Balmoral Sensation, awesome show jumpers. (Image: Libby Law Photography)
Clarke Johnstone and Balmoral Sensation, awesome show jumpers (Image: Libby Law)

Clarke Johnstone proved to the world that he and Balmoral Sensation can foot it on the international stage, finishing in fifth place on a score of 45.6.  They also won the Silver Jubilee Plate for the best result for an owner/rider.

“I am really thrilled. It’s always nerve-wracking on the last day of a three-day event and he just jumped a super round; I was rapt with him,” said Clarke after his round. “I was hoping to finish in the top few, I thought the horse was good enough to do that. We have had a good preparation so we were certainly hoping that we would be at the pointy end today but you never can count on anything, especially at Badminton. The course yesterday was pretty fearsome, so to get around clear with a few time faults and then jump clear today was fantastic, I was thrilled.”

Clarke’s plan was to perform well enough at Badminton to demand inclusion in the New Zealand Olympic team. “My main goal here was to make a really good statement to the selectors for the Olympics. I feel like we have done that.” So it’s all up to the selectors now, there isn’t anything more Clarke can do.

Jonathan Paget and Clifton Lush, one rail dropped them one place. (Image: Libby Law Photography)
Jonathan Paget and Clifton Lush, one rail dropped them one place (Image: Libby Law)

Jock Paget, on his 17-year-old Clifton Lush, was sixth after having a rail in the last phase and dropping back one place, finishing on 49.2. In summing up his Badminton for 2016, Jock said; “I hoped for a better dressage test, couldn’t be happier cross-country and then show jumping, I’m very happy. Obviously you would want a clear round and to move up, but today wasn’t the day for it.”

Jonelle Price and Classic Moet, consistent performers at this level. (Image: Libby Law Photography)
Jonelle Price and Classic Moet, consistent performers at this level (Image: Libby Law)

Jonelle Price dropped a rail in the middle of the treble and therefore some places with Classic Moet, eventually finishing on 51.3 and 10th. Overall, it was a very good performance, and added to her reputation of being ever-reliable on this horse; just what we might need for Rio.

“She jumped great, I was really pleased with the round. Obviously it would have been great to have jumped clear; one down, not the end of the world, a bit unlucky,” said Jonelle after her round. As to what was next, Jonelle said Classic Moet would have a little holiday first. “Then it depends what happens with the Olympics but she will probably be prepared for Burghley and be a back-up for the Olympics should she be needed.” Jonelle’s well-performed Faerie Dianimo is her preferred horse for Olympic selection.

Blyth Tait on Bear Necessity, a lovely clear showjumping round. (Image: Libby Law Photography)
Blyth Tait on Bear Necessity, a lovely clear show jumping round (Image: Libby Law)

Blyth Tait went in the first session of show jumping and put in a lovely clear round on Bear Necessity. As rails fell for other competitors, Blyth’s march up the leaderboard was continual for a while. He ended up in 13th place on a score of 53.3. He will be justifiably very pleased with his young horse, who he really thinks will come into his own in time for the World Equestrian Games in two years – but with a performance like that, he could be on the selectors’ radar for earlier honours.

Jesse Campbell on Kaapachino, completed their first Badminton in 33rd place.
Jesse Campbell on Kaapachino, completed their first Badminton in 33rd place.

Jesse Campbell on Kaapachino was the first New Zealander to show jump. This horse hasn’t got the best record in this phase, and his round today didn’t change this reputation. Four down took his final score to 92.3 and 33rd position – but good to get a completion at your first-ever Badminton, Jesse!

Jock was involved in a moving ceremony just prior to the presentations, when Clifton Promise was officially retired. Jock rode him in and the beautiful bay looked as if he was there to take on the show jumps. After a lap of honour, Jock unsaddled him and Frances Stead put the special cover on him. He was led out of the arena by groom Anke Hoyer after his final appearance at a three-day event. What a superb New Zealand thoroughbred, and thank you, Clifton Promise, for all the wonderful memories.

Armada dishes were presented to William Fox-Pitt, Andrew Nicholson, Nicola Wilson, Dag Albert, Mark Todd, Emily Llewellyn, Francis Whittington and Georgie Spence to mark their five Badminton completions. For many of these riders it was an addition to their existing collection of the sought-after trophies.

And earlier in the day, we can only imagine how nerve-wracking the trot-up was for the Johnstone family, as well as the New Zealand contingent, when the Ground Jury sent Balmoral Sensation to the hold box, but the horse was passed when presented again.

The other New Zealand riders’ horses looked fantastic and passed on their first presentation. Leonidas II looked fresh, like he was ready to take Sir Mark across country again.

Jesse Campbell had his own well-fitting navy blue suit (complete with waistcoat) on this time, looking lovely. At the first trot-up, he had to borrow Jock Paget’s suit as he had lost his car keys, and his outfit was in the vehicle.

Jonelle Price and Classic Moet - Jonelle's coat was just the thing for the trot up!  (Image Radka Preislerova)
Jonelle Price and Classic Moet – Jonelle’s coat was just the thing for the trot up! (Image Radka Preislerova)

Jonelle Price stole the best-dressed Kiwi prize though, looking stunning in an on-trend abstract applique swing coat in striking black and white (also known as a black coat with white patterned bits). It was perfect for the wet English morning. Jonelle had to take Classic Moet to the hold box at the first horse inspection, but this time there were no such worries.

We were also very taken with Andreas Ostholt in his uniform, looking very smart. Fellow German, and man of the moment, Michael Jung went with his standard trot-up outfit, jeans and a sports jacket. Functional but not fashionable – but at the end of the day, it’s not their trot-up outfit that they will be remembered for!

He truly is an extraordinary rider, and rightly goes down in history with this comprehensive win at Badminton and for winning the Rolex Grand Slam.

Michael Jung, Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing Winner, Badminton winner, pictured here with the Badminton trophy. (Image: Libby Law Photography)
Michael Jung, Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing Winner, Badminton winner, pictured here with the Badminton trophy (Image: Libby Law)

For the full results, click on this link.