Oliver Townend’s quest for the Rolex Grand Slam may have ended abruptly today as Ashdale Cruise Master (pictured right) fell 10 fences from the end of a stylish cross-country round at the Rolex Kentucky four-star.
The grey gelding ran into trouble at the first element of The Hollow, where frangible pins did not break. Oliver, who was wearing an air vest, was airlifted to a local hospital. Reports were that he was conscious and would have preferred not to take the emergency transport.
The question is whether he can compete in the show jumping tomorrow on his other horse, ODT Master Rose, who stands seventh with 50.6pen. A doctor must give an all-clear when a rider falls before the competitor can take part again. Cruise Master was not injured. Oliver’s personal assistant has said he is being checked out at the hospital purely as a precaution.
Latest update at 21:53, Saturday 24 April Oliver is up and walking around at the hospital. According to doctors, he has suffered a head injury, the extent of which is being evaluated. At the current time, Oliver is planning to ride tomorrow.
Latest update at 22:30, Saturday 24 April Will Connell, BEF World Class Performance Director said: “Oliver should be released from hospital in the next hour and the indications are that he has been cleared to ride (ODT Master Rose) tomorrow subject to how he feels. We have a physio with us and Oliver will be assessed in the morning.”
The overnight leader, William Fox-Pitt, retained his placing on Cool Mountain, who is competing in his first four-star. He finished within the optimum time of 11min 8sec for Michael Etherington-Smith’s course at the Kentucky Horse Park to retain his score of 42.8 penalties.
“I’m devastated for Oli,” said William. “That was a huge shock and one of those freak things.”
He is two penalties ahead of the USA’s Kim Severson on Tipperary Liadhnan, another up-and-coming horse who could be a prospect for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games to be held at the Horse Park this fall.
Mike Etherington-Smith said he will look at video footage of the fall to determine what happened with the pins, but he noted that generally it takes vertical pressure to break the pins, as opposed to horizontal pressure. He also noted pins help reduce the likelihood of a rotation fall, but “no one has ever claimed they will prevent a rotational fall.”
Results after cross-country
1. William Fox-Pitt/Cool Mountain (GBR) 42.8
2. Kim Severson/Tipperary Liadhnan (USA) 44.8
3. Becky Holder/Courageous Comet (USA) 45.2
4. Phillip Dutton/The Foreman (USA) 47.6
5. Phillip Dutton/Woodburn (USA) 47.7
6. Karen O’Connor/Mandiba (USA) 48.1
7. Oliver Townend/ODT Master Rose 50.6
8. Boyd Martin/Neville Bardos (USA) 51.8
9. Stephanie Rhodes-Bosch/Port Authority 52
10. Selina O’Hanlon/Colombo (USA) 52.7
Don’t miss H&H’s full report from Kentucky, on sale Thursday 29 April