Oliver Townend achieves back to back Kentucky wins for Britain

Oliver Townend showjumped clear this afternoon (Sunday, 28 April) to confirm his win in the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event.

The British rider and world number one was successfully defending his title, riding the same horse as in 2018, Angela Hislop’s Cooley Master Class. He showed his appreciation for the bay gelding after his round, pulling up in front of the huge permanent stand and pointing to him, before raising his hand in a fist pump and then giving the horse a hug.

“He’s a fantastic jumper, a really, really careful horse and tries his best for you,” said Oliver, explaining his job is to place the horse carefully as he likes to be a little further off verticals than some horses and to have plenty of canter to oxers. “As always, he tried his best for me today — it was a bit of a different situation as I came in in third last year and it’s much nicer jumping a clear round and letting the rest be under pressure.”

Oliver did not have a fence in hand when he entered the ring as the riders placed second and third overnight both showjumped clear too.

Boyd Martin took second and the Land Rover/USEF CCI5*-L eventing national championship with Christine Turner’s Tsetserleg.

I was thrilled with my bloke today — he didn’t give me the most confidence in the warm-up, jumping all over the shop and twisting and had these two [Oliver and Tim Price] giggling at me, but he’s a great little horse, said Boyd. I think he tap tapped the first fence and I thought it could be a long round but at the second he really tried and I thought, ‘We’re in with a shot here.’

“He’s been difficult in combinations — he usually jumps in really big over first part and get to second part too soon, so I felt like I really had to come in slow and short to fence 4ab. Once we’d cleared that up I knew I was in with a chance of a clear round.”

New Zealand’s Tim Price landed third on Xavier Faer, who belongs to his breeder Trisha Rickards, Nigella Hall and Tim. This was the horse’s best result since third at Badminton 2017.

Britain’s Piggy French moved up one place to fourth with a clear round on Jayne McGivern’s Quarrycrest Echo, a great end to the competition for her.

Phillip Dutton dropped from fourth to seventh when Z seemed to misread the upright into the double at fence four and blundered right through it. He also knocked fence eight, an oxer over a water tray down.

US rider Doug Payne moved up two places to take fifth with a clear on Vandiver, while Switzerland’s Felix Vogg (Colero) held onto sixth with the upright at fence 10 down and two seconds over the time limit.

Britain’s third rider, US-based Leslie Law, also finished the weekend on a strong note when he and Tre’ Book’s Voltaire De Tre’ showjumped clear to rise from 14th overnight to finish 10th.

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In total there were 10 clear rounds inside the 92-second optimum time over British designer Richard Jeffery’s 13-fence showjumping track.

Full report on Kentucky in Horse & Hound magazine this week (issue dated 2 May).