In a thrilling finish, Oliver Townend of Great Britain won the prestigious Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event at the weekend, beating Germany’s Michael Jung.
The British rider had been third overnight, but produced a flawless show jumping round on board Cooley Master Class, to take the title.
He had finishing the previous day with a dressage score of 28.7 penalties, setting up the showdown with overnight leader Jung on Fischerrocana FST. When the German pair dropped a rail at fence 5, the victory was Townend’s. Jung finished second (31.5).
Townend (35), of Dudleston Heath, Ellesmere, Shropshire, England, said. “There was no funding from Britain to come to Germany this year. The horse’s owners gambled on me to win their money back, and I’m pleased the horses have come through with great results and that I’ve repaid the owners’ gamble on me.”
American duo Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous also put in a double-clear round to move up into third overall, to win the Land Rover/USEF National CCI4* Championship as the highest-placed Americans with a score of 32.8.
The morning started with unexpected tension when Jung’s Fischerrocana was sent to the holding box during the final horse inspection, as was second-placed Christopher Burton of Australia with Nobilis 18. As the crowd held their breath, the ground jury accepted both horses upon re-presentation.
The first rider to post a double-clear round was Kim Severson and Cooley Cross Boarder (21st/55.9) . Oliver Townend had come into the show jumping with Cooley Master Class in third and MHS King Joules tied for fourth. He went early on King Joules, who eventually finished in seventh place and lowered a rail, but Cooley Master Class jumped impressively.
The winner takes home a check for $130,000, and for his seventh-placed finish Townend adds an additional $14,000, making it a profitable weekend for his team. MHS King Joules and Cooley Master Class are both 13-year-old Irish Sport Horses.
For his victory, Townend received $130,000 and a one-year lease on a Land Rover Discovery.