DOUBLE Olympic champion Sir Mark Todd is one of eight former champions who will be heading to the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials this year for another feast of top class international sport.
Competitors from 14 other nations will take on the best of the British at the prestigious competition on May 7-11, with a major focus being selection for the World Equestrian Games, Normandie this summer.
Thirteen Australian horses and 14 New Zealanders are in the entry list, reflecting those countries’ riders being assessed for selection by performance in the northern hemisphere this spring.
As usual there is a strong Irish contingent, with ten horses, eight each from France and the USA and seven from Sweden.
Former Mitsubishi Motors Trophy winners include Todd from New Zealand, with Andrew Hoy, Paul Tapner and Lucinda Fredericks from Australia, Mary King, Oliver Townend, Pippa Funnell and William Fox-Pitt from Great Britain.
Among those not to have won at Badminton, Andrew Nicholson (New Zealand) stands out with his record 33 completions to date and he must stand a great chance this time with a choice of two from Nereo, who was third in 2013, Kentucky winner 2013 Quimbo and former Burghley winner Avebury.
British favourite Mary King will ride Imperial Cavalier, who has completed on four occasions and has been third and fourth in the past; William Fox-Pitt has a choice of four, including European bronze medallist Chilli Morning.
Places in the British team are certainly up for grabs after the disappointing result at the European Championships last year, so competition for the record prize money and the best known trophy in the world will be intense.
Over 130 entries were received for the 85 places available, so those on the waiting list will be hoping that some of those accepted withdraw over the next month.