Losing the hot favourite Indrid Klimke means we now have on our hands one of the most open Badminton competitions in recent years.
Let’s start with the magic number of 28. At CCI5* level in 2018, we saw winning scores of 28.7 (Kentucky), 28.0 (Badminton), 28.3 (Luhmuhlen), 27.3 (Burghley), 29.5 (Pau). Last weeek at Kentucky, Oliver won on a score of 25.3 and Boyd and Tsetserleg will count themselves very unlucky to stay sub 28 and not win. It is obviously not an exact science but I am confident that if you can’t finish in this region, you can’t win Badminton 2019. That means that getting off to a good start is crucial. You can't win it in dresssage but it could be all over for some if they let others get too far ahead.
Only twice since 2008 has a rider gotten more than one horse into the top ten after dressage (Mark Todd – 2014, Jock Paget – 2015). All things going to plan and it is very likely that Oliver Townend will have both of his mounts in the top ten on Friday evening. Ballaghmor Class very nearly broke the Badminton dressage record last year with his score of 20.8 and while it is unlikely to be quite that low again, a sub-25 test would not be a surprise. His other horse, Cillnabradden Evo scored 22.7 at Pau last year and started this season at Burnham Market with a 21.3. Come to think of it, a Townend one-two on Friday evening is not out of the question. Unlikely…but certainly possible.
Nicola Wilson – Bulana
Nicola Wilson is making her 30th appearance at CCI5* level this weekend. Her best ever CCI5* came with Bulana, back in 2017 when this pair scored 25.8 at Luhmuhlen. They arrive here on form. Nicola Wilson, from 375 international tests in her career, just hit her dressage personal best – a 22.2 with Bulana at Ballindenisk in the CCI3*-S. If that warm up is anything to go by, they could well deliver a very big performance here.
If you are not leading, don't worry. But unless the rain comes, you have to be close.
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