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‘A quirky horse with a heart of gold’: Oliver Townend says farewell to his first Burghley winner

Oliver Townend’s first Burghley-winning ride has died aged 25.

Carousel Quest, owned by Andrew Cawthray, took the Burghley title in 2009, having finished fourth there the previous year under Cressie Clague-Reading.

The horse finished in the top 10 at 20 of the 25 international events he completed under both Oliver and Cressie, who produced the horse to top level before she switched to showjumping.

The 2009 victory came the same year as Oliver’s first Badminton win, on Flint Curtis.

They won with more than two fences in hand. Speaking after his win, Oliver credited Cressie for producing the horse “beautifully” and said he hoped the success “will put me in a position to really forge a future for myself”.

The eye-catching grey was bred by Joan Hood and was by Carousel, out of Vickidora.

“‘Quest’ was a horse I had long admired before I had the pleasure of taking on the ride in 2008,” said Oliver said yesterday (7 January).

“From the word go we formed a strong partnership, finishing runners-up at the Festival of British Eventing, winning the Scottish Championships, placing fifth at Fontainebleau and eighth at Kentucky before the highlight of his career: winning Burghley in 2009.

“He finished top 10 in another two CCI4*s (now CCI5*-L) before retiring to a quieter life and had the honour of parading at Burghley to commemorate his successful career.”

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Quest was officially retired in a ceremony at Burghley in 2011 at the age of 16.

“Quest was always a quirky horse but had a heart of gold and was besides a talented competition partner, a very dear friend to me and he will leave a huge hole behind,” said Oliver.

“He was one of the horses who cemented my name on the map and I will always treasure the memories and what we accomplished together.

“Quest, thanks for everything and say hi to the other old guys up there for us!”

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