Badminton Horse Trials: Michael Jung closes on Grand Slam bonus

Michael Jung
Jung is seeking the Burghley-Kentucky-Badminton treble
Badminton Horse Trials
BBC coverage: Sunday 14:00-16:00 BST - BBC Two, BBC Radio 5 live sports extra and online

Germany's Michael Jung closed in on a £240,000 bonus prize as he secured a dominant lead to take into the final day of Badminton Horse Trials.

The 33-year-old, leading after Friday's dressage, delivered a fault-free cross-country round on his mount La Biosthetique.

Jung won the Burghley and Kentucky titles and is hoping to seal the Rolex Grand Slam to earn the bonus.

Great Britain's challenge faltered, with Emily King eliminated.

She was second overnight but fell riding Brookleigh before Sunday's showjumping finale.

The 20-year-old shone in the dressage to raise hopes of becoming the youngest Badminton winner since 1973.

Emily King (right) with mother Mary King after Brookleigh falls at a fence
Emily King (right) with mother Mary King after Brookleigh falls at a fence

Instead it is Jung who will be centre stage as he attempts to become just the second winner of the Grand Slam, emulating Pippa Funnell in 2003.

"It's a long night, a big day, everything can happen," said Jung, an individual and team gold medallist at London 2012.

"For me, this is the best horse in the world. It is a wonderful feeling to ride such a good horse."

Jung remains on 34.4 penalty points, nine better off than compatriot Andreas Ostholt aboard So Is Et and 10.2 points ahead of Britain's Gemma Tattersall, who rides Arctic Soul, in third.

The cross-country challenge

Jung navigated all 33 obstacles over the 6,500m course with precision and finished well inside the optimal time - 11 minutes 58 seconds - at which competitors begin to incur time penalties.

It means he can afford to see two poles fall in Sunday's showjumping finale, assuming his closest rivals deliver blemish-free rounds.

"That horse is really amazing," added Jung. "He always listens to me and trusts in me."

In all, 27 of 75 horses failed to complete the course, set against the picturesque backdrop of Badminton House.

Organisers believe last year's cross-country attendance of 95,000 was comfortably bettered, with more than 100,000 people lining the track.

Zara Tindall kisses husband Mike and daughter Mia after riding High Kingdom, watched by her mother the Princess Royal
Zara Tindall kisses husband Mike and daughter Mia after riding High Kingdom, watched by her mother the Princess Royal

British Olympic dilemmas

King's fall at the penultimate obstacle drew howls of concern from those watching and she was visibly upset.

The daughter of six-time Olympian Mary King is one of a number of Britons looking to position themselves for a place at the Rio Olympics.

Tattersall's third place overnight gives her a fine chance of improving on her best finish at Badminton - 16th last year.

Team GB hopefuls must hit qualifying standards on the horse they wish to take to the Games by 19 June, with a selection announcement expected in July.

Former world champion Zara Tindall and her mount High Kingdom have work to do, as they sit 24th in the field, but Oliver Townend and Izzy Taylor are eighth and ninth on Armada and Allercombe Ellie respectively.

Top Stories