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Hoy Wins Again!
Badminton, Glos., England
by Amber Heintzberger
Andrew Hoy (AUS) and Moonfleet
Photo: Mitsubishi Motors/Kit Houghton
Andrew Hoy and Moonfleet are victorious at Badminton! Hoy is on a roll: A week ago he and Master Monarch led the victory gallop at the Rolex Kentucky CCI**** presented by Farnam.  Today he and Moonfleet tasted victory at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials CCI****, 27 years after winning the event for the first time. With these two wins he in line for the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing, should he claim victory at the Burghley CCI**** in September, and he has four top horses to choose from. For the moment though it seems that Hoy's toughest decision will be which horse to take to the World Equestrian Games in Aachen, Germany this August.

Before he rode Moonfleet, Hoy piloted his then sixth-placed ride, Mr. Pracatan around the stadium. Three rails down dropped them to a final fifteenth place and Hoy said that his nerves were a little shaken, but his coach Wayne Roycroft said just the right thing to keep him positive and focused.

"Wayne was great," he said. "He told me I didn't do anything wrong and that I should just focus on the next ride, so I just put it right out of my mind. Moonfleet jumped well and I was just thrilled to bits."

Germany's Ingrid Klimke, (GER) riding the German Federation's Sleep Late, had one rail at the plank fence but still had room to spare and held on to second place in her first-ever ride at Badminton.

Klimke seemed a bit star-struck as she accepted her trophy. "When I watched Badminton in 1995, I was sure that I would never be able to ride this course," she said. "So to place second, especially to Andrew, is just like winning it."

Klimke said that she felt very welcome during her stay in England. "Everywhere I went someone was smiling and wishing me luck," she said. "Ever since we arrived, we have been hosted like good friends. I will definitely be back."

Oliver Townend on Flint Curtis, owned by Edward Nicholson, had two rails down, but also held onto their placing. At only 23 years old, Townend's future is looking exceptionally bright with such a prestigious placing added to his CV. A member of the World Class Potential Squad, he has only been riding Flint Curtis for three months – he was previously ridden by Young Rider Issy Taylor - and said, "I certainly hope that the selectors will have had their eyes opened a bit and look positively at us now. Flint Curtis is a cracking horse."

This was Townend's second time competing at Badminton; last year he wore the Union Jack for the first time at the European Championships.  He said, "If a horse can put up with the crowds and fences here they can put up with them anywhere!"

Rails fell in profusion throughout the day; the British Eventing fence was particularly influential, since it was an upright only a few strides after a triple-bar. Jeanette Brakewell and her 18-year-old veteran Over To You were standing eleventh going into the final phase on 52.0, but their double-clear round moved them all the way up to fourth place when every rider in front of her had one or more rails down. Moonfleet and Over To You were the only two horses to finish the event on their dressage scores. No doubt Brakewell is also hoping to go to Aachen, which would be the icing on the cake for her horse, who has achieved more in his lifetime than many eventers dream of.

James Robinson and Comanche also benefited from keeping the rails up, and moved up from thirteenth to fifth place. 2.8 time penalties kept him from finishing ahead of Brakewell. Sharon Hunt and Tankerstown (53.6) finished sixth with one rail down.

Grand Stand seating was sold out and overflow admissions watched the competition from a big screen TV in the concessions area and took advantage of final-day sales in the expansive trade fair. The weather was again uncharacteristically ideal, encouraging spectators to spend a day in the country. After the jumping and before the prizes were awarded, The Duke of Beaufort's Hounds were brought out for a presentation, led by hunt staff on impressive horses and accompanied by several junior members. With the weekend wrapped up and everyone heading home, many will surely be making plans to attend Burghley in September to see if Andrew Hoy can become the second person ever to win the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing!

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