THE New Year always sees the real start to the build up for the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials.

The good news for the 80- plus riders who will start the event, which starts on Wednesday, May 7 and finishes on Sunday, May 11, is that the prize money has had a considerable boost, commensurate with the now truly outstanding standard of the international entry.

The winner will receive £80,000, up from £65,000 in 2013, and the increases are also reflected in the lower placings – Badminton prides itself on giving much the highest level of prizes in the world right down to 20th place.

Badminton regulars will find the return to Saturday cross country a familiar, and perhaps welcome aspect, and as previously announced the course will have a new designer in Giuseppe della Chiesa, appointed by the Duke of Beaufort and event director Hugh Thomas after last year’s record breaking Trials.

The public box office for the event opens on Monday ,January 13 for advanced bookings, as sports fans start planning their year ahead.

Badminton always supports a charity or good cause and this year it will be Equestrian Team GBR in the build up to the World Equestrian Games; it would have benefited in 2012 had that event not been cancelled.