VISITORS to the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials enjoyed a respite from the strong winds and drizzle that plagued the first three days of the prestigious event, held at the Duke of Beaufort’s Gloucestershire estate.

Just 31 horses made it through to the final phase of the international equestrian event and not one of them finished their showjumping round penalty-free.

In an exciting climax, Australian Sam Griffiths had just one fence down and this allowed him to climb from fifth place to top spot, clinching the Badminton title for the first time.

Overnight leader and fellow Australian Paul Tapner dropped right down to fourth place thanks to a 16 penalty show jumping round, which allowed previous British winner Oliver Townend, who was in fourth place overnight riding Armada, to finish in second place with two fences down.

Griffiths may have walked away with the prestigious title of Badminton Champion, but many of those who gathered for the final show jumping phase agree that it was Harry Meade who was the real winner today.

Harry, who is the son of previous winner Richard Meade and is based just three miles away from Badminton itself in the village of Luckington, finished third; but last August the international eventer’s career looked in tatters after a terrible fall caused him to break both elbows.

Said Harry: “To be honest I’ve been quite calm all week. I didn’t let myself get too ambitious! Even going into the show jumping today I felt very relaxed.

“Everything that’s happened in the last six months has put things in perspective. I just went out and enjoyed myself.”

Badminton spokesman Julian Seaman said that he thought it had been a great event.

“Badminton is back to its glory days!” he said.

Final Results 1 Sam Griffiths (AUS) – Paulank Brockagh 67.9 2 Oliver Townend – Armada 70.7 3 Harry Meade – Wild Lone 71.4 4 Paul Tapner (AUS) –Kilronan – 72.4 5 Pascal Leroy (FRA) – 72.5