Badminton 2024: Ros Canter and Izilot Sail to Top Spot on Dressage Day 2

Bubby Upton and Tim Price landed in second and third after the dressage phase at the Badminton Horse Trials.

May 10, 2024—Great Britain’s Ros Canter and her rising star Izilot DHI finished as the overnight leaders at the 2024 MARS Badminton Horse Trials in Gloucestershire, England, after an impressive dressage test during the second day of competition. With a score of 25.3, Canter bested Bubby Upton’s previous top score of 27.3 to take the lead heading into tomorrow’s cross-country phase. Upton and her mount Cola competed yesterday during Dressage Day 1.

As the 2023 Badminton winner, world number-two and reigning European champion, Canter has enjoyed a brilliant run of form. And for the second year in a row, she heads the leaderboard following the dressage phase. But this year, she’s aboard a new Badminton ride, the 11-year-old bay gelding she owns with Alex Moody.

Ros Canter (GBR) and her 11-year-old bay gelding Izilot DHI finished as overnight leaders at the 2024 Badminton Horse Trials after the dressage competition ended on Friday. © Badminton Horse Trials

The pair are already winners at the five-star level, following their victory at Pau, France, last autumn. They also captured the four-star at Blenheim last September. But Canter has played down her status as favorite for a second consecutive Badminton win and said she’s keeping an open mind about tomorrow’s cross-country course.

“I know that I am the favorite on statistics, but I also know that my horse is unproven on stamina and endurance on a course like this,” she said. “I will set off meaning business, but the distance and the going will be a new experience for him.”

Badminton: Preparing for Cross Country

Canter noted that this is Izilot’s first time at an event this large and that he hasn’t seen this length of course before. During their last five-star run at Pau, they were held on the cross-country course. This gave the gelding some recovery time.

“Izilot is an exceptionally brave horse, so I feel very confident sitting on him,” she said. “I will go out with the intention of going fast and clear. But at the same time, I will listen to what he’s telling me because I know I have a great horse for the future.”

During their dressage test, Izilot took a good look at a camera. But the gelding came back into full concentration for Canter.

“That’s him! We all know he is a quality horse, but he can spook and knowing that he will come back now to me is great,” Canter said. “I am now learning to ride him and am learning not to react and to drop the reins.”

Tight Race Following Dressage

Bubby Upton (GBR) and Cola ended up in second place at the end of the dressage phase after leading during Dressage Day 1. © Badminton Horse Trials

Upton, who made a heroic return to the event after breaking her back seven months ago, is now in second place with Cola. British-based New Zealand Olympian Tim Price, who has yet to add a Badminton win to his stellar CV, is in third place on Vitali with a score of 27.7.

“We all know he’s very capable, so on one hand I’m disappointed. Vitali never misses a [flying] change, but he did today. You never really know what’s going to happen in an arena like that,” Price said. “He seemed focused and happy, but then missed a change—which he never misses. But I’m happy enough. It’s going to be fun trying to work my way up the leaderboard.”

Tim Price (NZL) and Vitali claimed third place with a score of 27.7 going into the cross-country phase on Saturday. © Badminton Horse Trials

The closeness of the dressage scores means there’s a lot riding on the cross-country performances tomorrow. Cross-country time is going to prove crucial: the cost of 10 time penalties covers the top 30 riders. Sixty-seven horses will start the cross-country phase on Saturday.

Cross-Country Contenders

Veteran eventers and former Badminton winners William Fox-Pitt and Pippa Funnell, as well as first-time competitor Max Warburton, are in contention. With a score of 30.6, Fox-Pitt and Grafennacht are currently tied with Georgie Goss and Feloupe for eighth place.

Funnell and MCS Maverick placed 12th with a score of 31.9. While Warburton and Monbeg Exclusive tied for 10th with Gemma Stevens and Chilli Knight. Both 10th-place riders had a score of 31.7. Additionally, Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg TSF took fourth place with a score of 29.0. Fellow U.S. competitor Tiana Coudray ended in sixth with a score of 29.8 after the end of dressage competition.

Two horses have been withdrawn: Harry Meade’s Cavalier Crystal and French rider Arthur Duffort’s Torono d’Aurois

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

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