South Gloucestershire, England—May 6
Jonelle Price became the first female winner of the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton CCI**** in over a decade when she sealed victory in today’s final show jumping phase with an immaculate clear on Classic Moet.
The New Zealander and Trisha Rickard’s feisty little black mare have been the epitome of cool all week, and they won the title in the traditional way, climbing up the leaderboard from 22nd after dressage by adding just .4 time penalties on cross-country to her final score.
“Being a CCI**** winner is an elite club to join, and it’s been something that has eluded me for a while now, so to now join it—especially here at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials—is very, very special,” said Jonelle, for whom this was a remarkable comeback having given birth to her son, Otis Price, less than 10 months ago.
Watch Jonelle’s show jumping round.
Great Britain’s Oliver Townend and Ballaghmor Class, lying second overnight, lowered two rails to drop to fifth, but the Yorkshireman already had a clear round in the bag with his other top-five contender, Cooley SRS, who had gone out of order earlier on, and this proved good enough to ensure he kept the second spot anyway.
“If you’d have told me I’d have two horses in the top five at the end of this week I’d be very, very happy,” said Townend. “I’ve had to fight harder than I’ve fought before, and it didn’t always look like I wanted it to look, but both horses have come out of it feeling very good.”
Ros Canter, who has once again proved her star quality this week, lowered one rail on Allstar B to finish the competition in the same place she had occupied for most of the week—third.
“I was a bit nervous going into the show jumping today because he felt quieter than usual in the warm-up, and that rattled me,” she said. “But our round got better and better as we went on.”
Gemma Tattersall and Arctic Soul produced another double jumping clear—their third here in a row—to finish fourth, while the oldest rider in the field, Kiwi Mark Todd, 62, lowered one rail on Kiltubrid Rhapsody to wind up in sixth.
U.S. rider Lauren Kieffer finished ninth with one rail down on Veronica. “She jumped super,” said Kieffer. “We don’t get to practice jumping on grass at home very often, but she really jumped well out of it. Sometimes at the end of a four-star they’re pretty haggard feeling, and she really felt great. She felt like she does every day. I couldn’t be more thrilled with how she came out this weekend. Honestly, just because we’re all so competitive I’m very disappointed about having the one rail, but she’s got two Badmintons under her belt, finishing in the top 20, so you’ve got to take that.”
Read Chronicle staffer Lindsay Berreth’s blog about her experiences at her first Badminton for behind-the-scenes info, gorgeous photos and all the details on the shopping!
Don’t forget to check the May 21 issue of the Chronicle for an in-depth look at this year’s Badminton CCI****.