Badminton will be a prep run for the Olympics this year

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BADMINTON 2012 will be significant as a last chance for many international team managers to see their riders perform at a top 4 star event before heading to the London 2012 Olympics at Greenwich in the summer. It is also a reminder that it was at the last London Olympics in 1948 that the 10th Duke of Beaufort, after watching a lacklustre performance by the British Three day Event team, offered Badminton Park as a venue for an annual Olympic format Event. In 1949 the first ever Badminton was run.

This year the International Trials run from Friday May 4 – Monday May7, with the Cross Country again taking place on the Sunday and the climax on Bank Holiday Monday for a record first prize of £65,000, a fitting reward for the world’s premier Three Day Event.

Riders will also be conscious that Badminton is part of both the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing and the HSBC FEI Classics Series, the two combinations of top events that unite the sport throughout the year. William Fox-Pitt as the current Burghley Champion is the man to watch for the Rolex Grand Slam, while Mary King will be keen to win the Classics Series again and was indeed the leading rider in the HSBC Rider Rankings at the end of the 2011 season.

Reflecting the excitement of a home Olympics, Badminton has decided to make its official ‘cause’ for 2012 Equestrian Team GBR, raising money for all the British teams taking part in Olympic, World and European Championships over the next four years.

For full details see Equestrian Page, West Sussex Gazette, March 21