What an appropriate outcome on Mother’s Day back home in the U.S. After rails drastically changed the top of the leaderboard, Sam Griffiths and the lovely mare Paulank Brockagh snuck it to win Badminton Horse Trials. Sam and “Brocks” pulled just one rail on a day when only one pair jumped clear — and no one jumped double clear — over Kelvin Bywater’s show jumping course, and he told Radio Badminton he shed a few tears even before he knew that effort would ultimately give them the win.
Brocks becomes just the fourth mare to win the event in Badminton history, joining legendary mares Headley Britannia, who won with Lucinda Fredericks in 2007; Bambi, who won with Margaret Hough in 1954; and Emily Little, who won with Capt. Mark Darley in 1952. It’s also notable that a mare, Peggoty, won Little Badminton in 1960 with Capt. Martin Whiteley, as good friend of EN Pippa Roome pointed out. A 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare, Brocks is by the Grand Prix show jumper Touchdown and out of a mare by the Thoroughbred stallion Trigerrero.
Sam had nothing but wonderful things to say about the mare in the press conference — you can watch the video below — though he did admit she’s a “tough nut” to ride. But the flipside of that is that she gives absolutely everything she has and then some, as Sam discovered when the mare found another gear to come home clear across Giuseppe Della Chiesa’s monster course. She was equally impressive in the show jumping today, and it’s clear another eventing star has been birthed this weekend at Badminton.
Much has already been said and will continue to be said about this year’s course, but one thing remains clear: Badminton has returned to its roots. We haven’t had many photos of Sam and Brocks on EN this weekend because they flew under the radar a bit — moving up from equal 25th place after dressage to win — so Nico Morgan kindly provided the gallery below. I have much more to bring you — including a photo gallery of Chinch’s adventures this weekend, which you can check out on Instagram — but for now I’m off to The Outside Chance to congratulate Team Australia. Go Badminton.