Badminton Horse Trials has reiterated its status as the world’s oldest and most prestigious horse trials by significantly increasing its prize fund. The winner of the 2014 Mitsubishi Motors Trophy will take home £80,000; this is £15,000 more than last year, which was in itself the biggest single prize in the sport.

The overall prize fund has been increased all the way down to 20th place, with the intention, says event director Hugh Thomas, of recognising the high calibre of riders and horses contesting Badminton-despite eventing being considered the ultimate test of horsemanship, the financial rewards are modest outside top level.

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Last year, the Gloucestershire event received a record entry, with the likes of Olympic champion Michael Jung from Germany and the world’s top two riders, Andrew Nicholson (New Zealand) and William Fox-Pitt (Great Britain) bringing the competition to a thrilling climax.

The surprise winner was Kiwi newcomer Jock Paget, but he may not be able to defend his title as he awaits the outcome of a disciplinary tribunal after his winning horse, Clifton Promise, failed a drugs test at Burghley last September.

This year’s Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials takes place on May 8-11. Advance tickets go on sale from January 13 (01454 218375; www.badminton-horse.co.uk).

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