Laura Collett and London 52 have maintained their overnight dressage lead after their Badminton Horse Trials cross-country round, finishing within the 11min44sec optimum time.
“The horse was just amazing – I never knew how deep he would dig for me and he just kept on digging – it was relentless out there,” said Laura after her round at the event, which is presented by Mars Equestrian. “The only time he questioned my sanity as to what on earth I was asking him to do was at the Vicarage Vee, but he just said ‘OK, you say we go, we go’.”
Laura was held at fence 25, the Badminton Collection Flower Boxes, something that she said London 52 had never experienced before.
“The thing that amazed me as well was that he’s never been held on course before, and I just didn’t know how he would cope, but he just came back on the bridle and it was like riding a fresh horse,” she explained.
Eric Winter’s Badminton Horse Trials cross-country course has caused its fair share of problems throughout the day, which Laura reflected on when asked if she watched any riders go round before she got on London 52.
“I watched a few this morning and then I walked away [due to the problems the course was causing], because we weren’t watching rubbish riders, we were watching the very best in the world,” she said. “So in my head I took a deep breath and thought, ‘well, if I mess up, I’m not going to be the only one today’.”
This means that going into the final showjumping phase, Laura and London 52 will have over a fence in hand over second-placed Oliver Townend and Swallow Springs, who are on a score of 25.7, as no other competitors yet to take on the Badminton Horse Trials cross-country course can better Oliver or Laura’s scores. Piggy March and her reigning Badminton champion Vanir Kamira will go into the final phase in third, just 0.4 of a penalty behind Oliver and Swallow Springs.
Read our full Badminton form guide in this week’s issue of Horse & Hound (issue dated 5 May 2022). Our bumper 20-page Badminton report will be in our 12 May issue and keep fully up-to-date with all the action during Badminton week via horseandhound.co.uk, where a host of features and reports will be published.
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Oliver Townend riding Swallow Springs at Bunrnham Market in April 2022
Kitty King and Vendredi Biats competing at Blenheim
Nicola Wilson and JL Dublin pictured at Bicton Horse Trials in 2021
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