Oliver Townend names his sole Badminton ride to target Grand Slam of Eventing

  • Oliver Townend has confirmed his sole ride for next week’s Mars Badminton Horse Trials (8-12 May), where he has the opportunity to win the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing. The world number one will pilot Ballaghmor Class, owned by Karyn Shuter, Angela Hislop and Val Ryan, at the event.

    Oliver won Kentucky Three-Day Event last week on Cooley Rosalent, who has therefore been withdrawn from Badminton as a horse would not compete at two such big competitions so close together. He has also now withdrawn Tregilder, who has not run since an open intermediate at Poplar Park on the first weekend of the season.

    The Rolex Grand Slam is a big-money bonus given to any event rider who can win Badminton, Burghley Horse Trials and Kentucky consecutively, in any order. Oliver took top spot at Burghley last year on Ballaghmor Class as well as Kentucky last week, so will collect the prize if he can triumph at Badminton next week.

    There have only been two Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing winners since the prize was conceived in 1999. Britain’s Pippa Funnell completed the challenge in 2003, while Germany’s Michael Jung won the Rolex Grand Slam in 2015/2016. Oliver has come close before, winning two of the three legs in 2009/10 and 2017/18.

    Ballaghmor Class is the most experienced horse in the Badminton field. He has been second at Badminton twice and fifth twice, as well as winning three times at five-star (twice at Burghley Horse Trials and once at Kentucky). He has also been second and third at Burghley and is an Olympic team gold medallist (fifth individually). He has therefore finished in the top five at five-star 10 times.

    Oliver Townend won Badminton Horse Trials in 2009 on Flint Curtis.

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