Australia’s Paul Tapner, described by fellow riders as one of the hardest working in the sport, rode with focus and determination to achieve the greatest moment of his eventing career on May 3. He went clear in the final jumping to hold his slim overnight lead at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials, and now lies in second place, behind William Fox-Pitt in the HSBC FEI Classics.
“This means everything to me,” said Tapner. “Every second of this year has been focused on this moment.”
The show jumping course, designed by Jon Doney of Great Britain, rode exceptionally well, producing 16 clears, and Tapner was given a confidence boost with a clean round on his first ride, Stormhill Michael, on which he finished 10th.
Germany’s Andreas Dibowski rose from fifth to second by jumping clear on Euroridings Butts Leon—frustratingly, it was the pair’s third runner-up placing in their last three four-stars, following Luhmühlen (Germany) and Pau (France) last year.
“My horse was foot-perfect across country, but if I’d just been a little faster or had a slightly better dressage, who knows? Maybe I’ll win next year!” he said with good humor.
Daisy Berkeley (née Dick) climbed from sixth to third, her best ever four-star placing, on the 17-year-old Spring Along. “He was awesome,” said Berkeley, of her ride, which has won her a team medal at every level at World, European and Olympic level. “He jumped like a super star.”
There was, however, disappointment for Mary King who dropped two places to fourth on Imperial Cavalier. The 13-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (by Cavalier Royale) looked strong and hit the first part of the double.
There was also disappointment for Germany’s Simone Deitermann who hit a catastrophic three fences and plummeted to 12th.
Ireland’s Camilla Speirs, 20, riding the 15.1-hand Portersize Just A Jiff, a horse she has produced from a 3-year-old, won the HSBC Training Bursary worth $1,000 for finishing best of the four-star first-timers in 14th place.
Tapner’s Rise To Prominence
Tapner, 34, first came to prominence by winning the Bramham CCI*** (England) in 2000 on Highpoint, a year after first arriving in Britain from Australia. It was the turning point that made him stay, and he is now married (to Georgina) with two children and lives near Swindon, Wiltshire.
Inonothing has a consistent four-star record, having been ninth and seventh at the Burghley CCI**** (England) in 2008 and 2009, 13th at Badminton in 2007 and seventh at Luhmühlen last year.
Tapner hopes this performance will be good enough to earn him his first spot on the Australian team.
Inonothing is a 14-year-old Thoroughbred by Basildon Bond, owned by Jenny Waaler.
- 50 completed the competition
- 7 withdrew before jumping
- 16 clear rounds
- Tapner is the third Australian to win Badminton in the last four years, following Andrew Hoy (2006) and Lucinda Fredericks (2007).
1. Paul Tapner/Inonothing (AUS) 44.9
2. Andreas Dibowski/Euroridings Butts Leon (GER) 49.5
3. Daisy Berkeley/Spring Along (GBR) 50.4
4. Mary King/Imperial Cavalier (GBR) 51.2
5. Caroline Powell/Lenamore (NZL) 51.4
6. James Robinson/Comanche (GBR) 52.3
7. Bill Levett/Hippolyte (AUS) 53.3
8. Nicola Wilson/Opposition Buzz (GBR) 53.3
9. Carolyne Ryan-Bell/Rathmoyle King (GBR) 56.0
10. Paul Tapner/Stormhill Michael (AUS) 57.3
Full results on www.badminton-horse.co.uk