Badminton 2024: Price and Vitali Skyrocket to Top after Cross Country

William Fox-Pitt and Grafennacht claimed second, while amateur Lucy Latta and RCA Patron Saint came from behind to take third place.

May 11, 2024—The leaderboard at the 2024 MARS Badminton Horse Trials, currently underway in Gloucestershire, England, endured a fair shake up following the cross-country phase that took place on Saturday.

Tim Price, who’s representing New Zealand, and Vitali emerged in the lead after a solid cross-country run during Saturday’s competition. The former Olympian rocketed into first place after clinching a third-place win following the dressage phase.

Tim Price (NZL) and Vitali emerged in the lead at the 2024 Badminton Horse Trials following the cross-country phase. © Badminton Horse Trials

“I think he is the all-round event horse who hasn’t showed it in all three phases yet, but he will. He gave everything he had today—he was just class,” Price said of Vitali. “His show jumping has also been good recently. I think I’ve got a bit of a plan in place. He’s buzzing with fitness and wellness, so hopefully that will help tomorrow. But I’m just going to enjoy it for today.”

William Fox-Pitt and Grafennacht landed in second place after cross country; coming out of dressage competition, the pair was tied for eighth place with Georgie Goss and Feloupe.

“I was trying very hard. She is an amazing mare, just fabulous. She always says yes,” Fox-Pitt said. “The long route [coming out of the water]—that was my long choice. She was going so well.”

Fox-Pitt admitted this is potentially the last time he will compete at Badminton and that he wanted to return home well and in good health. His two sons, he noted, would have given him a rollicking if he hadn’t.

“I am very lucky. I’m 55, and I’ve had an amazing time here at Badminton,” Fox-Pitt said. “This is my 26th completion which means I am slotting in nicely behind Andrew [Nicholson] and Toddy [Sir Mark Todd] in completions. And I am happy to be in that slot. I probably ought to grow up and get a new habit.”

William Fox-Pitt (GBR) and Grafennacht moved into second place following cross country, after tying for eighth during dressage. © Badminton Horse Trials

Heart of a Lion

Perhaps most surprising was Lucy Latta and RCA Patron Saint’s comeback. After finishing 46th during the dressage phase, the amateur rider representing Ireland now sits on the podium in third place. She and RCA Patron Saint jumped the fastest round of the day, coming home one second over the optimum time.

“He is truly one of the great cross-country horses out there. While he actually isn’t that fast, he doesn’t pull. [This horse] lets me go smoothly to the fences, doesn’t waste time and has the heart of a lion,” Latta said. “[RCA Patron Saint] doesn’t have two extra gears like a racehorse, but he stays galloping. He gave it to me everywhere. He was just unbelievable.”

The cross-country phase helped amateur Lucy Latta (IRL) and RCA Patron Saint soar into third place after finishing in 46th during dressage. © Badminton Horse Trials

Martin Completes First Badminton

Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg TSF had a couple of run outs toward the end of the course that resulted in the pair finishing in 38th place following cross country. Martin and the gelding were in fourth after the dressage phase.

“I was going great guns at first and perhaps hunting around too much. I saw a terrible turn off the skinny. For anyone watching, it was an error of judgement,” Martin said. “He’s a good old horse, and he would have made it. It was rider error.”

Martin, however, now has his first Badminton cross-country completion.

Badminton Cross Country 2024: Rider Experiences

Pippa Funnell (GBR) and Majas Hope: “This horse only came to me last year, and he is an amazing talent. I just have to channel him in the right way,” said Funnell. “He stood up in front of the ground jury at the horse inspection, and he’s been really anxious about coming into center stage. I had to have a hunt horse escort me into the field of play.

“William [Fox-Pitt] is a good friend, and we talk a lot. It’s a real struggle at our age. We experience so many highs and lows, it can play on our brains. When I heard Oliver [Townend] was out, my money was on William. It would be so brilliant for the sport. I had my big win in 2019, and I really want him to have this.”

Tiana Coudray (USA) and Cancaras Girl: “I saw a post about a green, 6-year-old mare on Facebook. I liked her breeding and she was cheap enough. I thought she was a pretty little mare I would sell to a kid,” Coudray said. “Her jump wouldn’t knock your socks off, but she was so straight for a young horse. So, we picked her up. Everything is a work in progress, but her heart and her brain got her here, and now she’s a Badminton horse!”

Bubby Upton (GBR) and Cola: “First of all, I am so proud of my horse. He never failed to give me his absolute all. He is an absolute machine and has proved it time and time again,” Upton said. “I am gutted about the pin [11 penalties]. He just got in too close. It’s one of those things. The support and the love I’ve felt over the last eight months since my accident has been unbelievably touching.”

Show Jumping Caps Off Badminton 2024

All eyes are now on tomorrow’s horse inspection, which takes place in front of Badminton House at 8:30 a.m., before the show-jumping phase begins. Of the 15 first-time competitors at the start of this year’s MARS Badminton Horse Trials, seven remain in the competition.

  • Read more about Dressage Day 1 here.
  • Coverage of Dressage Day 2 can be found here.

Thanks to Zoetis for our coverage of the 2024 Paris Olympics, including rider interviews, competition reports, horse spotlights, photos, videos and more.

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