Piggy French wins first Badminton trials title on Irish-bred horse
38-year-old beats Oliver Townend by .3 of a penalty in thrilling finale
Piggy French on her way to victory on Vanir Kamira during day four of the Badminton horse trials. Photograph: David Davies/PA Wire
There was a dramatic conclusion to the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton international horse trials on Sunday when Britain’s Piggy French, recording her first five-star success on her 25th start at that level, beat her compatriot, Oliver Townend, into second place by .3 of a penalty.
French (38) was second last to compete in the concluding show jumping phase on the Irish Sport Horse mare Vanir Kamira and posted one of just 11 clear rounds within the time allowed. On the second of his two rides, Ballaghor Class, Townend had 5.3 penalties in hand over French entering the arena but used four of those up when his ISH gelding, on which he won Burghley in 2017, lowered a fence and he then forfeited the chance to win his second five-star event within a week when four seconds over the time.
French completed the three phases on a penalty score of 26.8 with Trevor Dickens’s Vanir Kamira, a 14-year-old bay mare by Camiro de Haar Z which was bred in Co Monaghan by Kathryn Jackson out of Fair Caledonian, a daughter of the Belgian thoroughbred stallion Dixi. Townend’s total on the 12-year-old Courage gelding Ballaghmor Class was 27.1.