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Todd fourth at Badminton Horse Trials

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 8/05/2016

Sir Mark Todd has narrowly missed out on a podium finish at the Badminton Horse Trials as five Kiwi eventers finished in the top 15.

Four-time champion Todd, riding Leonidas II, went clear on the showjumping phase but couldn't make any ground on the riders in front of him to retain his overnight position of fourth.

"He felt amazing today. I don't think he has had a fence down in a three-day, so that gives you confidence," Todd said.

"I was disappointed after the dressage but you have to put that behind you and the horse hasn't put a foot wrong since."

World No.3 Todd is New Zealand's in-form rider, having placed sixth at the Kentucky Three-Day Event last week.

Kentucky winner Michael Jung doubled up with victory on Sunday, steering La Biosthetique-Sam FBW to another comfortable win three months out from the defence of his Olympic individual title.

Jung is the first German winner in Badminton's 67-year history and secures a STG320,000 ($NZ675,000) pay day for winning consecutive Burghley, Kentucky and Badminton four-star titles.

His score of 34.4 penalty points was a Badminton record, heading off fellow-German Andreas Ostholt (43.4), Briton Gemma Tattersall (44.6) and Todd (44.8).

Jock Paget of New Zealand dropped a fence on Clifton Lush to slip one place to sixth, overtaken by compatriot Clarke Johnstone, who was clear on Balmoral Sensation.

Johnstone's clear round put the icing on a fine Badminton debut and continues to place his name in front of the New Zealand selectors, who will unveil their Olympic team in June.

"My main goal here was to make a good statement to the selectors ahead of the Olympics and I feel we have done that," he said.

Jonelle Price was 10th on Classic Moet and Blyth Tait 13th on Bear Necessity in an encouraging return for New Zealand's team hopes at the Rio Olympics.

The only other nation with five riders in the top 15 was Great Britain, while defending champions Germany had three.

The final day was a sentimental one for Paget, with the official retirement of his former first-choice mount Clifton Promise.

Paget rode Clifton Promise when New Zealand secured a London Olympic team bronze medal in 2012. The combination won at Badminton a year later.

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