New Zealand’s Mark Todd will be aiming for back-to-back victories and his fifth Badminton Horse Trials title later this year.
The entry list for this year’s event is out, and there is a waiting list of 49.
Twelve nations will be represented, headed by reigning World and European Champion Michael Jung (Germany) who is competing at Badminton for the first time, on Leopin FST.
Todd is not starting his 2011 winner Land Vision, and is instead accepted on Major Milestone and Grass Valley.
The horse with most international points at the top of the entries is Lenamore, looking for his first win and eighth completion under Caroline Powell from New Zealand. Powell also has Boston Two Tip accepted. She’s ninth on the wait list with Porthill Rusty Nail and 16th on Mrs Tilly.
As well as Todd, five other previous winners are among those accepted: Mary King, the 2011 HSBC FEI Classics Series Champion; Pippa Funnell, the only Rolex Grand Slam winner; William Fox-Pitt, 6 times Burghley winner; Andrew Hoy, triple Olympic team gold medalist, back at Badminton after a short absence; and Oliver Townend, another who has done the Badminton and Burghley double.
Zara Phillips has a good chance of a top placing with High Kingdom while Andrew Nicholson (NZ) goes for his first win after a record 32 completions to date, and former world champion Jean Teulere heads a strong French challenge. Nicholson is accepted on Avebury, Mr Cruise Control, and Shady Grey. Fellow Kiwis Jonelle Richards (Flintstar) and Jonathan Paget (Clifton Lush) are also accepted.
The Irish are out in force, no doubt eager to snatch one of their country’s three slots in the Olympic Games and for many riders this will be the last major chance to catch the selectors’ eye before the squads are announced for Greenwich. With very few riders from any nation being guaranteed an Olympic place, the tension is sure to last until the very last show jump is cleared.
Badminton starts with the Mitsubishi Motors Grassroots Championships on Thursday, May 3, with the dressage for the main test running over Friday and Saturday. The cross-country is on Sunday, May 6, and the climax in the main arena is on Bank Holiday Monday, May 7. First prize is worth £65,000 to the winner.
Because of double entries and riders who have entered three or four horses, there are more than 85 horses on the list but it will produce a maximum of 85 runners.
» Badminton Acceptances (PDF)
» Wait list (PDF)