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Oliver Townsend wins Horse Trials

Oliver Townend wins at Badminton Horse Trials

26 yr old British rider Oliver Townend's life long dream came true when winning The Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials – his first Badminton title, riding Edward Nicholson’s Flint Curtis, surviving a nerve-wracking show jumping round under pressure.

The combination used the ‘life’ of a fence in-hand halfway round the course. A second pole down would have handed the trophy to former winner William Fox-Pitt.

The competition heightened as the afternoon went on. Nine of the final top 20 riders produced clean sheets and – those adding faults found themselves dropping rapidly down the order.

William Fox-Pitt and Idalgo, who jumped clear, were ones to benefit from others’ mistakes and in the end it was so close – the pair was just 0.7 penalties behind the leader and William a fraction away from recording his second win – the British Olympic rider won here in 2004.

“Idalgo has been sensational all week,” said William. “He’s been a bit unlucky in the past but we’ve always believed in him and his owners – George and Jane Apter – have been very loyal and as he proved he’s been well-worth waiting for.”

British-based Australian Sam Griffiths and Happy Times up into the frame to take third place after a clear round. Happy Times, at 10-years-old, one of the youngest in the field, is a German-bred gelding by the influential eventing Thoroughbred sire, Heraldik. The pair, 20th after dressage, rose to eighth place after cross-country.