FORMER bricklayer Jonathan ‘Jock’ Paget has won the 2013 Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials on his debut in the event.

Paget, a 29-year-old New Zealander, rode Clifton Promise to victory to become only the second person in history to win Badminton at the first attempt.

He relegated double Olympic champion Michael Jung of Germany into second place after a nail-biting show jumping showdown on the final day.

Under the blazing Bank Holiday sunshine, the real competition was thought to be the battle for the Rolex Grand Slam between eventing greats Andrew Nicholson, of New Zealand, and Team GB’s treasured William Fox-Pitt.

Due to the cancellation of last year’s event, both Fox-Pitt and Nicholson were deemed to be in line for the £230,000 Rolex-sponsored bonus prize for any rider winning CCI**** events at Burghley, Kentucky and Badminton consecutively.

With barely a fence in hand between Paget, Fox-Pitt and Jung going into the show jumping, the competition was fierce with great displays of horsemanship from all three.

Jung rapped the last pole after a near foot-perfect three disciplines, dropping to second with La Biosthetique-Sam FBW, while Fox-Pitt and Parklane Hawk slipped to fifth after also knocking down a pole.

Nicholson and Nereo moved up to third after a clear round, but it was not enough to snatch the extra jackpot.

Nicholson, based near Marlborough, was pragmatic, saying: "I knew I had to jump a clear round and I was focused. Nereo is a very good jumper and he jumped very well.

"It’s been an exciting week with the Rolex Grand Slam on offer and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being part of it."

Paget, who only started riding at the age of 18, was delighted with his first-time win.

"I used to watch videos of Badminton, thinking it would be cool to be there one day – and now I am," he said.

"Clifton Promise is quite tricky, it’s like riding two different horses. But I’ve asked him a lot of questions over the past week and he’s answered every one."

Paget is preparing for a season of four-star competitions after his bronze medal at the London Olympics last year.

"I will probably celebrate with a beer, but can’t overdo it – I have another competition in two days’ time," he said.

Swindon’s Tom McEwen finished 19th at his first Badminton with Dry Old Party (stable name Tom).

A precise clear round across country and one rail down in the showumping helped move Tom up the leaderboard after his dressage test, held during a rainstorm, saw him rack up 51.3 penalties to be in equal 32nd after the first discipline.

Tom, 21, also collected the prize for the best U25 debut and the bursary for the youngest rider not to have represented GB at senior level.

Dry Old Party is a former racehorse who has previously been described as ‘possibly the most useless horse ever to race under rules’, which proves that you can teach an old horse new tricks.

Highworth’s Paul Tapner finished a place behind McEwen in 20th on Kilronan. They also enjoyed a relatively straightforward clear round across country but with one pole down in the show jumping.

Harry Meade made the short journey over to Badminton from his home yard at Luckington to finish 37th on Wild Lone after a ‘disappointing’ dressage test.

Membury’s Laura Collett rode a considered cross country test on Noble Bestman, otherwise known as ‘Super Steve’, to finish 49th at the horse’s first Badminton.

Laura admitted to serious nerves before the cross country and was disappointed about the judges’ reception of their dressage test, commenting: "The dressage judges didn’t like us but Noble Bestman tried his heart out so I’m thrilled."

Gatcombe’s Zara Phillips retired after a run-out at the famous Lake complex on High Kingdom.