Order juggled by showjumping – but it’s still a British clean sweep of Kentucky podium

  • Oliver Townend topped the Defender Kentucky Three-Day Event results this afternoon, showjumping clear on the 10-year-old mare Cooley Rosalent.

    “I thought out here in the warm-up she was nearly trying too hard and that’s when you know you’ve got a very good one – when after they’ve really put their heart and soul into the cross-country they still come out and know their job and want to do their job,” said Oliver. “I thought good girl, whatever happens, we’re going to be all right in the future. Hopefully today’s the day and if not, then we’ve still got a superstar on our hands.”

    Oliver spoke of what this means to the mare’s owners Paul and Diana Ridgeon, who have owned event horses for some 45 years and who he “inherited” from Andrew Nicholson. Cooley Rosalent – who was also third at Maryland 5 Star last autumn – is the first horse Paul has sent to the USA in his years of ownership.

    “Paul Ridgeon wasn’t that enthused about paying for her to come to Kentucky, but we managed to twist his arm and it’s his first five star win so I’m so proud for him,” said Oliver. “I know that he’ll be having a serious drink right now. He’s 92 years old and for him to finally get a five-star win under his under his belt I think is as special for him as it is for me.

    “It means a lot for me because Andrew and I have been trying quite hard, not always with the easiest horses in the world that Paul’s owned and for us to get the result makes me incredibly happy for an old man, more so than myself. I know that he will be hitting the gin hard tonight.”

    Oliver, who was riding in his 100th five-star, phoned Paul as soon as he could after he came out of the ring.

    “I gave him a proper jab and said, ‘I told you we should have brought it here’,” he said.

    Ask what he will do with Cooley Rosalent now, Oliver said: “Wrap her in cotton wool and hope we get a phone call” – meaning he hopes to hear she has been selected for the Paris Olympics.

    Oliver is now a serious live contender in the Rolex Grand Slam, having won Burghley Horse Trials last year – he will take that big-money bonus if he wins Badminton Horse Trials next week.

    Kentucky Three-Day Event results: British 0ne-two-three

    The Brits made a clean sweep of the podium, with Tom McEwen in second on JL Dublin and Yasmin Ingham in third on Banzai Du Loir. They were first and second overnight but each had a fence down, so there were mixed emotions for both riders.

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