DOUBLE Olympic gold medallist Michael Jung is expected to compete at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials for the first time this year.
The German, who became the first eventer to hold the World, European and Olympic titles at the same time when triumphing in the individual and team competition at London 2012, was due to compete at the premier event last year before it was cancelled due to heavy rain.
He is set to join a list of top international riders to participate in the Horse Trials from Thursday, May 2 to Sunday, May 6.
New Zealander Andrew Nicholson, who has completed Badminton more times than any rider without ever winning, finished 2012 in spectacular form, winning both the HSBC FEI Classics events at Burghley and Pau and will be keener than ever to lift the Mitsubishi Motors trophy and consolidate his lead in that series.
In addition, for the first time Badminton has emerged as the event which might provide the elusive third leg of the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing for William Fox- Pitt, after his victories at Burghley 2011 and Kentucky in 2012.
For the final time Cross Country day, over a similar course to the one built but not jumped last year, will run on the Sunday of the Trials after two days of dressage.
Badminton concludes with the nail biting jumping round on Bank Holiday Monday. Proceedings get going on the Thursday with the recreational riders' Mitsubishi Motors Grassroots Championships, which will feature both the 2013 and the postponed 2012 classes, over the hallowed turf of the Duke of Beaufort's Gloucestershire park.
Badminton's annual designated charity in 2013 will be Alzheimer's Research UK, which will as usual be recognised by a cross country fence and which will have the opportunity to publicise its important work and of course seek to raise funds. Early booking of tickets is strongly advised, particular for the camping site and grandstand tickets for the final day, both of which have sold out in recent years.
Badminton has been able to renew its insurance, so in the very unlikely event of another cancellation advance ticket holders are assured of their money back in full.
The box office is open at www.badminton-horse.co.uk. Ticket prices remain largely unchanged from 2012 in view of the cancellation and demand for sites in the huge tradestand village has been as strong as ever.