Top-10 horse eliminated at Kentucky Three-Day Event final trot-up: ‘It’s very sad’ *H&H Plus*

  • One British horse left the competition at this morning’s final horse inspection in Kentucky. Find out which one – and what his rider said.

    By Nancy Jaffer

    The 45 horses who remained in the five-star after cross-country were all presented at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event 2021 final trot-up this morning (25 April).

    Two-time Kentucky winner Cooley Master Class was spun, as rider Oliver Townend of Great Britain acknowledged his horse had a small cut and was sore on it trotting in a straight line before the judges. At the same time, he noted, the bay gelding was sound to ride and “very fresh,” putting in a buck on the way back to the stables from the trot-up.

    As he observed yesterday after his journey on a taxing cross-country course, “Cooley Master Class didn’t have a smooth trip at all”, but he gave everything he had each time Oliver asked.

    The world’s number one ranked eventing rider, who leads going into this afternoon’s showjumping with Ballaghmor Class, believes Master Class, who was eighth in the Kentucky Three-Day Event 2021 cross-country results would have been able to jump well. He added, however, “Obviously, the welfare of the horse is paramount in our sport,” while deferring to the ground jury.

    “That’s their decision to make. It’s very sad for me and it’s very sad for the team, but he’s still in one piece. It’s more of a frustration than anything else, but he’s 100%.”

    Asked for his reaction, British World Class eventing performance manager Dickie Waygood replied,  “Obviously, very disappointed, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles. The horse’s welfare comes first, that’s all you can really say.”

    Kentucky Three-Day Event 2021 final trot-up: Phillip Dutton’s ride held

    Master Class was the only horse spun in the Kentucky Three-Day Event 2021 final trot-up, held on a misty morning before a sparse number of observers (US Equestrian Federation Covid protocols prohibit fan attendance). However, several horses were held, including Fernhill Singapore, the second mount of US Olympic medallist Phillip Dutton, but all eventually were passed.  

    Only three penalties separate the top seven in the standings going into showjumping, with Jonelle Price of New Zealand (Grovine De Reve) and Kevin McNab of Australia (Scuderia 1918 Don Quidam) tied for sixth on 30.3 penalties. Ballaghmor Class is just 0.5 of a penalty ahead of the USA’s Boyd Martin and On Cue, who have 27.8 penalties. Tim Price of New Zealand, the world number two eventer, is right behind on 28.2 penalties.

    Kentucky Three-Day Event 2021 final trot-up: Boyd Martin and On Cue

    Boyd Martin presents On Cue at the final trot-up at Kentucky 2021. Credit: Nancy Jaffer

    Oliver, Boyd and Tim were first, second and third in the last running of the Kentucky event in 2019. It was cancelled last year due to Covid.

    The showjumping course is being laid out by American Steve Stephens, the 2008 Olympic course-designer, who has stepped in for the regular designer, Richard Jeffery of Great Britain. He has remained at home, as so many British subjects have done during the pandemic.

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