Equestrian: Tait likelt to miss out on Badminton and Olympics

By David Leggat

New Zealand have eight entries in the field for the Badminton horse trials in England next week - but one name missing from the list could spell the end of an Olympic ambition for London.

Former world and Olympic champion Blyth Tait has not accrued enough points to get a spot in the field.

Tait decided last year to make a bid to return to the international elite, following in the footsteps of longtime teammate Mark Todd who at 55 won Badminton for the fourth time last year.

However, Tait, 50, has found it difficult getting back to his old lofty standards.

He needed a certain number of FEI ranking points to make the field. When it comes to a high profile event such as Badminton, where there are far more riders than places in the field, the higher the points the better the chances of getting a start.

Equestrian Sport New Zealand high performance boss Sarah Harris was reluctant to count Tait out of contention in the team of five for London to be named at the start of July. However, the numbers game is counting against him.

Todd and veteran Andrew Nicholson are locks for places, while Clark Johnstone, Caroline Powell and Jonathan Paget are strong favourites for the other three spots, with fast-rising Lucy Jackson and Jonelle Richards in contention.

"He still has until June 11, which is when we name our shortlist," Harris said last night. "By then people have to have met the minimum FEI standards so he has until then to do something pretty significant.

"We're not writing anyone off yet but it would be unlikely he would get there."

Todd, Nicholson and Powell have two entries each for Badminton, with others in the field including Paget and Richards while Craig Nicolai and Dan Jocelyn are waitlisted for starts.

- NZ Herald

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