Oliver Townend delays start to Kentucky for owners to arrive

  • Oliver Townend had to put off his quest for the Rolex Grand Slam by one day because of the volcanic fallout that already had delayed his arrival at the Kentucky Horse Park earlier in the week.

    He had been scheduled to ride ODT Master Rose yesterday (Thursday) as competition in the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event got underway, but the event’s management made an accommodation for him, according to British team manager Will Connell.

    “The organising committee has been very generous to Oliver,” Will said last night.

    “With the voIcano in Iceland, it’s been very difficult to get everyone out here. And you know, the sport relies on owners and Oliver’s owners weren’t able to get out here tonight. So he is running both horses tomorrow (Friday).”

    Oliver lost several days of training Master Rose and Ashdale Cruise Master due to the travel chaos but said: “The horses don’t seem to have missed me too much. I prefer to just get on with it now and see what I can do. We’re going to stay positive and see how we get on.

    It’s all a bit of a chance, but they’re good horses. I’m really looking forward to getting out there and getting the best out of them.”

    The other two British riders, William-Fox Pitt (Cool Mountain) and US-based Leslie Law (Fleeceworks Mystere du Val) also are competing today (Friday).

    The first day of dressage ended with an American sweep of the top three placings, as Karen O’Connor was first with her 2008 Olympic mount, Mandiba, on 43.7 penalties. Becky Holder, always in the hunt at Rolex, was second with Courageous Comet (45.2), while Phillip Dutton finished third on The Foreman (47.2).

    Phillip is riding four horses at Rolex, adding one to the three he originally planned to compete after he had to scratch Woodburn from Badminton, since he couldn’t get him across the Atlantic with all the airline problems.

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