Oliver Townend has withdrawn Black Tie II from Rolex Kentucky CCI4* (28 April-1 May).
The British star told H&H: “Black Tie was entered for both Kentucky and Badminton to keep the options open, but I don’t feel like I need to take him all the way to America. He may run at Badminton depending on my other two horses and if the ground there suits him.”
The horse, a 15-year-old gelding by Mughtanim belonging to Karyn Shuter, is a renowned top of the ground performer, so wet going does not suit him.
Oliver also has Armada and Dromgurrihy Blue entered for the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials (4-8 May) the week after Kentucky. Riders can only start on two horses at Badminton, although they can enter more than that initially.
Black Tie had a fall at fence four at Burnham Market (1) last weekend, but Oliver said the withdrawal was not as a result of that.
“He is absolutely fine following our tip-up at Burnham Market,” said Oliver. “Him being withdrawn from Kentucky is not at all related — he is fine.”
Black Tie was Oliver’s ride at the 2014 World Equestrian Games, but after a tough competition there was given most of last year off. He won his first run this year, the open intermediate at Oasby (1).
Oliver’s withdrawal means just one British-ridden horse will fly to Kentucky this year — Panda Christie’s Little Leo. Two US-based British riders are also entered for the event: James Alliston with Parker and Philippa Humphreys on Sir Donovan.
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Four Kiwi horses will also make the journey to the US for Kentucky — Blyth Tait’s ride Xanthus III, Tim Price’s Bango and Wesko, and Mark Todd’s NZB Campino. Germany’s Michael Jung is also taking last year’s winner FischerRocana FST.
In addition, British-based US rider Tiana Coudray will travel back to America to compete at Kentucky with Ringwood Magister. Tiana has been awarded a Land Rover Grant by the US Equestrian Federation to help her towards the journey. She is also entered for Badminton, but is 24th on the waiting list.