‘She’s as good as we always hoped’ – world number one praises young mare after Kentucky cross-country

  • Oliver Townend praised the 10-year-old Cooley Rosalent this evening after the pair finished just one second over the optimum time on the Defender Kentucky Three-Day Event cross-country course.

    The world number one sits in third place overnight on the grey mare belonging to Paul and Diana Ridgeon, behind fellow Brits Tom McEwen, who leads on JL Dublin, and Yasmin Ingham, who is second on Banzai Du Loir).

    “She’s different world, isn’t she?” said Oliver after his round. “Whatever happens from this point, bringing her here was a big gamble that paid off because the amount she’ll have learnt out there is incredible.

    “Every distance that I wanted, I just about got – like the second pond [the Cosequin Cove at fence 8ab], a few have done five strides there and I said, ‘No, we’re going to make four happen. One day you’re going to be at Burghley, you’re going to have to learn now’ and she’s just incredibly honest.

    “I’ve had her from four years old, and she’s as good as we always hoped.”

    Oliver took one long route, at the final difficult combination, the Park Question at fence 23abcde.

    He explained: “It was always in my mind, and I just thought that she had had a bit of a huff and a puff and not jumped the Fox’s Den fence before amazingly well. I thought timewise I was going to be about there, so I just thought it’d be a nice breather for her rather than flinging her at one more angle that might have been too much for a 10-year- old.

    “I’m still very conscious when I’m riding around that although I’m trying to be competitive, I’m also trying to half produce and half save her for hopefully, another seven years – like we’ve had out of [triple five-star winner] Ballaghmor Class.

    “So it’s always long term in mind and don’t get me wrong, I’m sure one day I will fling her at it and I’m sure she’ll answer the question beautifully, but I just thought that she’d pulled enough out of the bag up to there for me to give her a little breather.”

    Despite this, Oliver Townend and “Rosie” finished with the equal third-fastest time of the day over Derek di Grazia’s Kentucky Three-Day Event cross-country course.

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