Sam Griffiths’ dream came true as he was crowned the 2014 Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials champion.
The Australian, who is based at Quarr, near Gillingham, took victory riding 11-year-old mare Paulank Brockagh - ahead of Oliver Townend and Harry Meade with a score of 67.9 penalty points.
“I’m overwhelmed” explained Griffiths. “Since a child I have dreamed of riding and winning at Badminton and that dream has been fulfilled. It’s an incredible feeling.
“Badminton is a unique sporting and equestrian event and I would like to express my congratulations to all the riders who competed.
“I would like to thank the Posford family who have supported me since the beginning. I am delighted for them and their wonderful horse, Brocks.”
Griffiths looked off the pace during Friday’s dressage tests, finishing in 25th place with a score of 46.3. A clear run in the cross county track moved him up to fifth place with a combined total of 63.9 – before a stunning performance in the show jumping meant he finished on 67.9 with no time penalties and just four faults.
Griffiths moved to the UK in 1995 and worked as back-up for Olympic gold medallist Matt Ryan for three years. The 41-year-old set up his own team of horses, taking third place at Badminton in 2009 and finishing fourth in 2011.