After a sodden 2012 forced the cancellation of its four-star event, Badminton Horse Trials organisers will be praying for fine weather in the lead-up to the 2013 renewal in May.
Wet weather last year forced organisers to pull the pin on the landmark event just three days before it was due to start. The Grassroots Championships was also cancelled.
Poor weather had previously forced the event’s cancellation in 1966, 1975, and 1987. The 1963 running of the event was reduced to a one-day contest due to the underfoot conditions. In 2001, it was cancelled because of the Foot and Mouth outbreak in Britain.
The event was won in 2011 by New Zealand’s Mark Todd and Land Vision.
This year’s renewal will take place on the May Bank Holiday long weekend, from May 2 to 6.
All the top international riders, a year on from their Olympic exploits, are expected to be amongst the entries, including Germany’s dual Gold medallist, World and European Champion, Michael Jung, who is yet to compete at the world’s premier Event.
Andrew Nicholson from New Zealand, who has completed Badminton more times than any rider without ever winning, finished 2012 in spectacular form, winning both the HSBC FEI Classics events at Burghley and Pau and will be keener than ever to lift the Mitsubishi Motors trophy and consolidate his lead in that series.
Badminton has also emerged as the event which might provide the elusive third leg of the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing for William Fox- Pitt, after his victories at Burghley 2011 and Kentucky in 2012.
For the final time cross-country day, over a similar course to the one built but not jumped last year, will run on the Sunday of the Trials after two days of Dressage. Badminton concludes with the nail biting jumping round on the Monday.
Proceedings get going on the Thursday with the recreational riders’ Mitsubishi Motors Grassroots Championships, which will feature both the 2013 and the postponed 2012 classes, over the hallowed turf of the Duke of Beaufort’s Gloucestershire park.
Badminton’s annual designated charity in 2013 will be Alzheimer’s Research UK, which will as usual be recognized by a cross country fence and which will have the opportunity to publicise its work and to raise funds.