Eventing headlines worldwide

Here’s a wrap of what’s been making the headlines recently in New Zealand and other parts of the world.

Big prize for Badminton 2017

In 2017 the winner of the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials will take home the record prize of £100,000 for the first time. It’s great to see the prize money being so good for what is the most prestigious of events. Forty years ago, in 1976, the top prize was £1,000. We would say that perhaps this is what Andrew Nicholson has been waiting for – increased prize money – but we know that this event has been one that he has wanted to win for a very long time.

Andrew Nicholson and Nereo at the 2015 Badminton, where they were leading after cross-country but 3 rails down in the showjumping saw them finish 6th. (Image Libby Law)
Andrew Nicholson and Nereo at Badminton 2015: they led after cross-country but three show jumping rails saw them finish sixth. (Image Libby Law)

Badminton was attended  by 147,000 people in 2015, putting it in the UK’s top ten events (ranked by attendance numbers), ahead of the Ryder Cup and Aintree Grand National but behind Burghley Horse Trials, where 156,000 turned up. The 2016 figures have not been made public (that we could find) but they appear to have been better than 2015’s, especially on cross-country day where more than 100,000 spectators were at the event.

The best-attended sporting event in 2015 was Wimbledon (484,000 in 13 days), followed by the Formula 1 British Grand Prix (335,000 in three days, which in terms of attendees per day is the clear front-runner) and Royal Ascot (293,000 in five days).

World Rankings

Last month, Balmoral Sensation (ridden by Clarke Johnstone, bred by David Goodin) came out on top of the WBFSH Rolex World Ranking List. Also featuring on that list was Double J Sunshine (ridden by Katharine Van Tuyl, bred by the Jacobs) who was sixth, with Sir Mark Todd’s pair NZB Campino 11th and Leonidas II 16th.

Clarke Johnstone and Balmoral Sensation, successfully transitioned from New Zealand to Badminton. (Image Libby Law Photography)
Clarke Johnstone and Balmoral Sensation: on top of the world (Image Libby Law Photography)

Clarke himself won Sport Waikato’s Sportsperson of the Year for 2016, quite an achievement in a province which has a huge number of superstar sportspeople.

British Eventing Rankings

Leonidas II, ridden by Sir Mark Todd, won the top British Eventing horse for 2016. He was second last year. Classic Moet was second this time, with Ringwood Skyboy third. Nereo was 19th, and Bear Necessity 20th.

Classic Moet also won the best British-bred horse for the second year in a row, winning her breeder, Elaine Hepworth, £1,000. The mare was the highest placed British bred-horse at Burghley 2016, ridden by New Zealand’s Jonelle Price.

The top-ranked rider in the British Eventing season just finishing is Oliver Townend, followed by Andrew Nicholson. Tim Price is seventh equal, Sir Mark Todd ninth and Jonelle 10th. Caroline Powell is 17th and Blyth Tait 20th.

Sir Mark Todd and Leonidas II during their heart-breaking round. (Image: Libby Law)
Sir Mark Todd and Leonidas II (Image: Libby Law)