EVENTING stalwart Sir Mark Todd was delighted to show his pedigree as one of the top riders in the world by bringing two horses home within the top six at Badminton.

Much was made of Eric Winter’s first attempt at designing the iconic course, with chunky fences causing plenty of tests at every turn.

As a result, 32 of the field failed to make it past the cross-country stage as they were either eliminated or retired.

However, Wanborough-based Todd, who won the first of his four Badminton titles back in 1980, had no qualms about how difficult the test was and believes with a few tweaks, Winter has come up with a course that lives up to the prestige of Badminton.

“It was really difficult,” said the 61-year-old.

“I was enjoying myself as much as you can around a really difficult track like this.

“You’re sitting on a horse and you’re always trying to feel what that horse is doing and how he is feeling at different stages of the course and you are so focused on that.

“It reminds me of 1980, when I first came here, that was a really tough year and this has been the same, the results shown that.

“This is Badminton. This is a four-star event, it’s not a three-star event.

“I think there are some combinations here who probably shouldn’t have been here.

“So, keep the standard up, fix it a little bit and everybody has to raise their game if they want to come to Badminton.

“I will be having a chat with Eric.

“I think there were a couple of places where things could be made a little bit more horse friendly but in his first year at Badminton, he has done a great job.”

Todd jumped two faultless rounds in the final show-jumping stage on NZB Campino and Leonidas II to finish fourth and sixth respectively and while he agonisingly missed out on a podium place, he was happy with his weekend’s work.

“The horses, I have to say, have come through it very well,” he added.

“They felt fresh in the trot up and I’m very relieved. I got two clear rounds.

“I came into it thinking I had a good chance on both of them and they have both gone really well.

“I would have liked to have been a bit further up but under the circumstances, I have got to be happy.”