Badminton Horse Trials: Ireland's Jonty Evans third after dressage

Jonty Evans
Jonty Evans finished ninth at the Rio Olympics
Badminton Horse Trials
Dates: 4-7 May Coverage: Saturday 6 May - 11:20 BST live on BBC Red Button, connected TV, online & iPlayer. Sun 7 May - 14:00. Live on BBC Two, connected TV, online & iPlayer

Jonty Evans raised hopes of a first Irish winner of the Badminton Horse Trials in 52 years after ending the dressage in third place.

Evans, on Cooley Rorkes Drift, shed tears of joy after a routine that incurred 37.2 penalties.

Australian Christopher Burton, with Graf Liberty, leads on 32.9, with German Ingrid Klimke on 37.2 on board Horseware Hale Bob.

No British riders came close to breaking into the top 10.

Alexander Bragg and Tom McEwen lie in equal 18th going into Saturday's cross-country.

Reigning Olympic champion, world number one and Badminton title holder Michael Jung, meanwhile, lies ninth on La Bioesthetique Sam, seven penalties adrift of Burton. Day one leader Thibaut Vallette of France is seventh.

But Evans was the story of the day, and the 45-year-old called Cooley Rorkes Drift "the horse of a lifetime".

No Irish rider has won at Badminton since Major Eddie Boylan triumphed on Durlas Eile in 1965.

"This is very special, and I can't believe it," said Evans.

"You try not to look at the scoreboard, but when I halted at the end of the test and got some nines among the marks, I thought, 'oh, my God'.

"It hasn't sunk in, and it won't sink in. If I am still in this position on Sunday night, it will mean a huge amount."

Badminton standings after the dressage

1. Christopher Burton (Aus) (Graf Liberty) 32.9pens

2. Ingrid Klimke (Ger) (Horseware Hale Bob Old) 36.4

3. Jonty Evans (Ire) (Cooley Rorkes Drift) 37.2

4. Karin Donckers (Bel) (Fletcha Van T'Verahof) 37.3

5. Lauren Kieffer (USA) (Veronica) 38.0

5. Andrew Nicholson (NZ) (Nereo) 38.0

7. Thibaut Vallette (Fra) (Qing Du Briot Ene HN) 38.7

8. Bettina Hoy (Ger) (Designer 10) 39.2

9. Michael Jung (Ger) (La Biosthetique Sam FBW) 40.0

10. Astier Nicolas (Fra) (Piaf De B'Neville) 41.5

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