All 83 horses lining up for the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials passed the first inspection on Wednesday.
But a bruised foot forced the withdrawal before the trot-up of Vittoria Panizzon’s Borough Pennyz.
“Gutted doesn’t even come close to how I’m feeling now,” Panizzon said.
“We have tried our best to sort it, but we have run out of time. There’s no heat or swelling – she’ll probably be fine by Monday.
“It’s so disappointing, not just for me but for the whole team and all of her fan club. She’s on her best form ever and looks amazing. It feels like a massive opportunity missed for both of us.
“She’s never missed an event in her life, so it’s a huge shock. We now have to look forward to WEG (the World Equestrian Games).”
Most horses at the inspection were very fresh and raring to go – notably Nicola Wilson’s Beltane Queen who was not impressed when Annie Clover was led back through the archway, and Tom McEwen’s Diesel who took some stopping on his way back down the track.
As usual there were some dapper dressers – Bill Levett’s outfit from A Hume Clothing made the boy from Down Under look particularly smart. Nicola Wilson, Emily Llewellyn and Lucinda Fredericks had all gone that extra mile to stand out from the crowd.
Dressage starts on Friday at 9.30 – first into the arena (after the Guinea Pig test which will be ridden by Holly Woodhead riding DHI Lupison) will be Izzy Taylor on KBIS Briarlands Matilda.
Good feedback has been received from riders who had walked Giuseppe Della Chiesa’s new cross-country course. They said:
Lucy Jackson: “It’s meaty. It opens you out right from the start and needs serious attacking.”
Sarah Cohen: “You need accuracy, scope and guts… that’s all! It’s a proper 4* track for sure.”
Giovanni Ugolotti: “It’s definitely an attacking course – we will have to be very positive and ride forward. The ground is pretty perfect at the moment but it will be soft enough if we have more rain.”
Izzy Taylor: “It’s a step up from last year. I wouldn’t say that there was one part of it that I’d most like to have behind me, other than the last fence – the problems are spread around the course. It’s a proper track, I’m looking forward to it.”
Sam Griffiths: “It’s pretty tough. I think the logs on the mound (18abc) will be influential, and the course is definitely tougher than last year – but hopefully it should suit my mare.”
Caroline Powell: “It’s not going to be a dressage competition. It’s really in your face and I’m loving it.”
Oliver Townend: “It’s a serious course, particularly the line along the Vicarage Vee. I’ll tell you on Saturday night if it suits Armada.”
Gemma Tattersall: “It’s big, bad and bold. I’ll be pleased when fence 18 is behind me – I need to ride it like I stole it.”
Michael Owen: “It’s going to need a rideable horse to make a good job of it”
Mary King: “I’ve only walked the first few fences and the last few, but it looks gorgeous. I can’t wait to walk the rest and get my teeth into it.”
• A beefed up cross country course greeted both BE90 and BE100 Championship competitors at this year’s Mitsubishi Motors Grassroots Championships.
BE100 Championship winner Alice Lumley climbed up the order from 11th after dressage thanks to a double clear inside the time that left her on a score of 31.5. Alice, 23, bought her winning ride Foxwood Brown Sugar as a two-year-old and backed him herself.
Runner up George Bolt (Asparagus) leapfrogged up from 23rd after the first phase to finish on the same score as third placed Jo Boggon on Goodluck Jonathon (33.5) thanks to being closer to the optimum cross country time.
The BE90 title went to Zoe Symes and Serendipity IV. Zoe is an Oil & Gas recruitment consultant and one of the more local riders, travelling here from her base near Bath. Having posted the only sub-20 dressage score (18.3) Zoe could afford one rolled pole in the show jumping to still finish more than five penalties ahead of runner up Candida Martin and the six-year-old Lux Zen.
Candida kept a clean sheet to finish on her dressage score of 27.5 – the same score as third placed sociology teacher Charlotte Lawson (Obsidian III).
All six riders were full of praise for both of the Willis Brothers’ courses and the unique atmosphere and opportunity to ride on Badminton