Badminton cross-country preview

XC is set to run at Badminton from 6-11:30AM ET on Sunday.  Ride times (ET +5)
The weather is expected to be a factor at Badminton, with rain predicted straight through Sunday and some forecasts predict over 5cm of accumulation.  However, the consensus I have heard both publicly and privately is that the course needed some water and while it might get more than it needed, the ground should hold up pretty well except in front of a few fences and maybe around a couple of turns.  The footing will get worse as the day progresses.

Video course walk with Hugh Thomas and Polly Stockton.  This is the same video we have linked to before, but it is the best video preview available.
Virtual course walk with pictures of every jump from H&H
Since I haven’t seen the course in person, I’ll let the riders tell you about it in their own words.  Virtually everyone has mentioned something about the Quarry (# 5), which will be a very early indicator of how the course will ride for each pair.  I’m a big believer that bad weather makes the cream rise to the top so I expect veteran XC riders with experienced horses like Mary, William, and Andrew to move up tomorrow.  My gut tells me that William will be in great position to win the next leg of the Rolex Grand Slam at the end of tomorrow.
Kai Ruder (sitting in 1st with Le Prince Des Bois):

“My horse is strong so he shouldn’t be affected by the rain. My plan at the moment is to take all the straight routes

but…”the course looks pretty big to me; I’ll be very happy if I’m still in the top 10 at the end of tomorrow.”

Ruth Edge (2nd on Two Thyme):

“The ground has been so well prepared that it will take more rain. Even so, I’m glad to be going early on.”

“The jumps look imposing and inviting and that makes you want to attack. It’s a clever course with the twists and turns, but without having to pull the horse about too much, and I think it will be very challenging for the level.”

Tina Cook (3rd with Miner’s Frolic): 

“If it keeps raining like it is now then I think that the ground in front of some of the narrow fences could get quite cut up

“I’ve never jumped a fence like the log at the bottom of the quarry before. It’s a real old-fashioned test and I don’t know how it will ride.”

William Fox-Pitt (6th on Seacookie, 18th on Macchiato): 

“The course is tough with plenty of places to make mistakes there is a lot of turning so I think the time will be difficult, especially with the rain today. Although we usually like a late draw for the dressage I think tomorrow an early draw will be an advantage.”

Andrew Nicholson (9th on Avebury, 37th on Nereo):

“I think Hugh’s done a great job. The dewpond fence (16) is clever. It’s a big rail in with a steep landing into water which horses won’t see until the last second and then an acute angle out. I also think the first log at the Quarry (3) is a big drop and the fence out of the Lake, an upright brush, is tricky too.”

courtesy of press releases throughout the weekend

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