Oliver Townend heads British quartet at Kentucky

  • Oliver Townend will lead the British challenge at Rolex Kentucky (28 April-1 May) this year.

    The rider will start on Karyn Shuter’s Black Tie, the horse he rode as an individual at the 2014 World Equestrian Games.

    Oliver has competed at Kentucky twice before, his best result being sixth in 2011 on ODT Sonas Rovatio.

    Panda Christie is also making the journey from the UK with her own Little Leo, on whom she was 31st at Pau last year.

    The other two riders bearing the Union flag at Kentucky are based in the USA. James Alliston, who lives in California, will start with his faithful campaigner Parker, who has finished in the top 15 at the event three times.

    Michigan-based Philippa Humphreys, 33, will be making her four-star debut on the Irish sport horse Sir Donovan, who she started riding in the spring last year

    A record 95 entries have been received for Kentucky this year, beating 2015’s 91, a new record at the time.

    Riders can start on a maximum of three horses at Kentucky, although the organisers may limit this to two if necessary. Buck Davidson has six horses entered and Boyd Martin five, so the maximum starting field at present is 90. This will inevitably shrink due to withdrawals between now and the event.

    Among the top contenders for the title will be last year’s winners, Germany’s Michael Jung and FischerRocana FST. Michael won Burghley last year, so if he could win both Kentucky and Badminton this spring he would complete the Rolex Grand Slam, the lucrative prize for winning the world’s three major four-stars consecutively.

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    The 2015 Kentucky runners-up will also be back, with Wesko one of two rides for Tim Price this time.

    He is part of a strong Kiwi contingent making the trip, with Mark Todd (NZB Campino), Blyth Tait (Xanthus III) and Jock Paget (Clifton Signature) also entered. Joe Meyer, the former New Zealand team member who now lives in the USA, is also on the start list riding Clip Clop.

    To see the entries in full, click here.

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