Michael Jung thinks La Biosthetique Sam FBW is the best horse in the world, and today he proved it when winning Badminton with the best score in its history to claim the Rolex Grand Slam.
The rider carved a name for himself in the eventing hall of fame, as he became the first German to win the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials and the second ever rider to win the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing.
Jung dominated the iconic four-star competition from the beginning, and entered the showjumping phase leading on his dressage score of 34.4pen.
He had two fences in hand, lying ahead of fellow German Andreas Ostholt, but didn’t need them as he put in a foot-perfect performance to win with the lowest score in Badminton’s 67-year history.
He also secured a $350,000 bonus from Rolex, as the second rider to do the coveted triple and bag three top events consecutively.
Having won the 2015 Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials on the same ride (Sam) and the 2016 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event with FischerRocana FST, he had his eyes on the prize at Badminton.
British stalwart Pippa Funnell is the only other rider to have secured the accolade since its inception in 2001.
Jung said: “It is a very special moment for me – I think I need time for it to sink in. We always said this is a normal competition, but now it’s done we can realise what it actually means.
“I think this is really special – only one person won it before. It’s really difficult that you have to get all three in a row. I am very, very happy and very proud of my horse.”
More than I wished for
It was also an emotional day for Ostholt, who secured second place with So Is Et despite having to enter the showjumping ring with one front shoe.
“I was in the warm up and my front left shoe flew off,” he said. “There was no time.”
The hiccup did not stop him from jumping a beautiful round, however, and he completed on his dressage score of 43.4pen.
“He gave more than everything,” added the 39-year-old. “I am proud of my horse and proud of my trainer and hopefully he’s proud too. Second to me is like a win – I didn’t expect this. It’s much more than I wished for.”
Top of the table for Great Britain was Gemma Tattersall, who finished on a score of 44.6pen to claim third with Arctic Soul.
She said the week was a “dream come true”, and she could not be prouder to win the prize for the best retrained race-horse in the competition.
“This horse has been on the form of his life this year,” she added. “He did a personal best in the dressage and has finished on his dressage score – I could not be more proud of him.
“He was still racing over fences when he was six years old. It is a testament to his amazing ability and trainability to come here and be third at Badminton.”
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