‘I felt the pressure today’ – top-10 finishes for Oliver Townend and Harry Meade at Maryland 5 Star

  • Oliver Townend produced a fault-free round in the Mars Maryland 5 Star showjumping this afternoon (16 October) to secure third place with five-star first-timer As Is.

    The British rider rode a forward round and Sir John Peace’s 11-year-old grey responded to leave all the fences up over Ken Krome’s track.

    “I’m delighted with him, obviously,” said Oliver. “He was purchased earlier this year by my new employers, the Peace family at Team Caunton. It’s the first time I’ve had a job since I was 21 so to deliver results for people who are employing me for the first time this year is very special to me.

    “We thought he was capable of this, but you’re never sure, it’s five-star and anything can happen. He went out a bit green and careful yesterday and I thought last night, ‘I hope he’s as careful showjumping as he was across country.’”

    Oliver took over the ride on As Is after he finished fifth at Blenheim Horse Trials four-star long with Andrew Nicholson last year, after which Andrew announced he was stepping down from top-level competition. The Brit has previously taken over a number of horses from Andrew, including 2014 Badminton Horse Trials runner-up Armada.

    World number three Oliver added: “I actually felt a bit of pressure today – I said to Andrew I felt no pressure on Armada because we all knew he destroyed the place, but knowing I was on a good jumper, it was down to me to press the right buttons and get the right distances. He was very special in the ring today and it’s hugely special for the Caunton team and my team at home to have a horse of this calibre.

    “I think they’ve definitely set their stall out in terms of the fact I’ve had two new horses at five-star for Caunton this year and they’ve both finished top 10 [the other being Lukas, eighth at Luhmühlen]. It’s a very nice start to my job and we’ve got some beautiful younger horses behind these, so hopefully long may it last.”

    Fellow Brit Harry Meade also added nothing to his score today in the Maryland 5 Star showjumping and moved up from 15th to seventh with Mandy Gray’s Superstition, repeating the pair’s result from Maryland last year.

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