Equestrian ace Fox-Pitt denied shot at Badminton title after rain forces cancellation
Monday, 30 April 2012
April 30 - The Badminton Horse Trials has been cancelled for the first time since 1987 due to the unseasonally poor weather in the United Kingdom recently, with the grounds at the Gloucestershire course waterlogged.
Rain has fallen across the country consistently for the last few days and further bad weather is forecast for this week – scuppering the chances of the event, scheduled from Thursday (May 3) until next Monday (May 7), taking place.
Badminton, the most prestigious competition in world eventing, was set to feature William Fox-Pitt (pictured below), the British number one and a London 2012 medal hope, who was hoping to complete a hat-trick of titles after winning at Burghley for a record sixth time last September and Kentucky last weekend.
Britain's other three equestrian riders already primed for the Olympics – Mary King, Piggy French and Nicola Wilson – were all set to be in action while the final place on the British team is still up for grabs.
Selectors will now focus on the Chatsworth trials in Derbyshire next month as they look to fill the fifth spot.
Germany's world and European champion, Michael Jung, was also set to compete alongside New Zealand's reigning Badminton champion, Mark Todd.
Hugh Thomas, Badminton's event director, said: "The recent exceptional rainfall has left the ground at Badminton totally waterlogged and partially flooded.
"Further rain is due this week leaving no chance of the ground drying out.
"Very sadly, therefore, the 2012 Badminton Horse Trials has been cancelled.
"Purchasers of advance tickets, exhibitors, sponsors and riders will, of course, be refunded as soon as is practical."
The event has been called off four times previously – in 1963, 1966, 1975 and 1987.