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Tapner Takes Over At Badminton
Badminton, UK
by Kathy Culpin
Paul Tapner and Inonothing
Having had the enormous privilege to have ridden around the outer area of the Badminton Estate earlier this week on, as the Irish would say, a 'fine horse', it's easy to see why on cross country day at the Mitsubishi Badminton Horse Trials the crowds flock from all over the globe to watch riders who are at the top of their game. Badminton remains the one that everyone who's involved in eventing at the upper levels, wants to win. Even in the early hours of a rainy Saturday the lines to get into the car park stretched far into the Gloucestershire countryside.

The leader board changed fast and furiously - Kai Ruder, the overnight leader had an unfortunate run out, Ruth Edge in second place came to grief and got catapulted out the front door as her horse stumbled and William Fox-Pitt and Macchiato clocked up 20 penalties for a run out at the double corners at fence fifteen. He later withdrew his second ride Seacookie.

Paul Tapner currently has a horse that does know something because he currently holds the lead on Inonothing adding just one penalty point to his dressage score of 44.5 to sit on 44.9. He moved up from eleventh place proving once again that Badminton is never a dressage test. At the press conference he said he knew the course was causing trouble but having had a good go on his first horse, Stormhill Michael with whom he sits in twelfth place, he had a sleep and set off and given the horse's experience he felt the horse could go well given his agility and size. Paul thinks that both horses are capable and good show jumpers and is hoping for a clear round tomorrow.

Mary King on Imperial Cavalier sits in second place, having been held on the course after Alex Hua Tian demolished the brush fence at fence fifteen. Mary, in interviews later in the day, admitted that her concentration wavered and she found it hard to get back into the swing of the course and wasn't on the ball, but after a shake up over the table she got back into the course. She's thrilled with the horse who felt fantastic inspite of having taken a long option and having the hold. She retired on her second horse after a run out at the influential corners. She had a bad jump at the sunken road and galloped on to the corners and having not taken the long route she had another run out and has never had a cross country fault before and given there's Luhmuhlen she can perhaps reroute the horse.

The top three is rounded out with the German rider Simone Deitermann on Free Easy NRW. It's her first time here at Badminton and she's had a fantastic experience, the early part of the course was difficult but he settled and gave her a great feeling. She's trained by Chris Bartle and her preparation for Badminton has gone very well. He's a good showjumper and her plan is to have a clear round!

Young rider Alex Hua Tian came to grief on his first horse having had a fall but both horse and rider were ok and Alex went clear on his second ride, Magenta. He's the first rider from China ever to have ridden around Badminton. Trained by Lucinda and Clayton Fredericks he's got talent, good horses and the infrastructure to support his ambitions and dreams. Other young riders who stormed around the course include Emily Llewellyn on her two horses - she sits in 16th and 26th and Sam Watson the young Irish rider who on Horseware Bushman clocked just 7.6 time penalties and wraps up today in 8th place.

It's been an extraordinary day here, rarely has the leader board changed this much but change it most certainly has, it's tight at the top and we'll see what happens tomorrow.


1 Paul Tapner/Inonothing (AUS) 44.5 + 0.4 = 44.9
2 Mary King/Imperial Cavalier (GBR) 44.8 + 2.4 = 47.2
3 Simone Dietermann/Free Easy NRW (GER) 45.0 + 3.2 = 48.2
4 James Robinson/Comanche (GBR) 43.5 + 4.8 = 48.3
5 Andreas Dibowski/Euroridings Butts Leon (GER) 43.5 + 6 = 49.5
6 Daisy Berkeley/Spring Along (GBR) 48.0 + 2.4 = 50.4
7 Caroline Powell/Lenamore (NZL) 50.2 + 1.2 = 51.4
8 Sam Watson/Horseware Bushman (IRL) + 52.5 + 0 = 52.5
9 Carolyne Ryan-Bell/Rathmoyle King (GBR) 47.0 + 6 = 53.0
10 Bill Levett/Hippolyte (AUS) 44.5 + 8.8 = 53.3

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