Lexington, Ky. – Oliver Townend completed a hat trick this year at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event presented by MARS Equestrian™, adding a third consecutive win at a venue that the British eventer describes as “the most special in the world.” In 2018 and 2019, Townend took the top spot in the CCI5*-L with Cooley Master Class, but this year it was Ballaghmor Class, the 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by Karyn Shuter, Angela Hislop, and Val Ryan, taking the win.
“All I had to do was do my job on my horse,” said Townend. “Today he felt in incredible shape. I never felt him as good. I’ve never felt him as careful.”
A careful, quick round was a necessity today as the top seven were all within a single rail of each other heading into the final phase.
“What’s so special about our sport is that tense finish and there is no margin for error,” said Townend. “I think that’s what’s got everybody so excited—everybody that’s watched online and on TV. I don’t think between us we could have created a better finale. It’s been a wonderful day for all of us.”
In another echo from 2019, New Zealand’s Tim Price rode his way to a top spot on the leaderboard with Xavier Faer, the 15-year-old British Sport Horse gelding he co-owns with Trisha Rickards and Nigella Hall. This year, the pair moved up to second place after finishing third at the last running of LRK3DE in 2019. They completed their event this year as the only combination to go double clear in both the cross-country and jumping phases.
Jonelle Price, also riding for New Zealand, joined her husband in the top three with Grovine De Reve, the 13-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding she co-owns with Therese Miller. Adding only 0.4 time penalties today, the pair moved up from sixth place to finish third. Price had a busy weekend with three horses in the CCI5*-L., including another top-10 finish with her longtime partner, Classic Moet.
Land Rover/USEF CCI5*-L Eventing National Championship presented by MARS Equestrian™???????
The familiar look on the leaderboard held over to the Land Rover/USEF CCI5*-L Eventing National Championship presented by MARS Equestrian, with Boyd Martin (Cochranville, Pa.) repeating his win from 2019. Like Townend, Martin found himself in the winner’s circle with a different horse this time, taking the national championship with On Cue, the15-year-old Selle Français mare he co-owns with Christine, Thomas, and Tommie Turner. This event was On Cue’s debut at the CCI5*-L level, and after unfortunate falls on cross-country with his two other mounts, On Cue stepped up and earned her carrots with just one rail down and no time faults in today’s jumping test.
“When you bring a horse to this level for the first time you don’t know quite what to expect,” said Martin. “She’s unbelievable, though. She absolutely gave everything she had this weekend and exceeded my expectations. She tried her absolute guts out. I would have loved to jump clear today, but having one rail down in this company is respectable.”
Martin and On Cue’s final score of 31.8 put them in fourth place for the overall CCI5*-L in addition to their victory in the national championship.
Phillip Dutton (West Grove, Pa.) turned in a double-clear round today with Z, the 12-year-old Zangersheide gelding owned by Thomas Tierney, Suzanne Lacy, Ann Jones, and Caroline Moran, which boosted them up the leaderboard to finish as reserve national champions and in eighth place overall. Z was one of two rides for Dutton this week. He also completed with Fernhill Singapore.
Tamie Smith (Temecula, Calif.) made the trip from the West Coast with Mai Baum, the 15-year-old German Sport Horse gelding owned by Alexandra Ahearn, Ellen Ahearn, and Eric Markell. Smith has had the ride on Mai Baum since 2015, and this LRK3DE was the gelding’s CCI5*-L debut. They made the miles count with a double clear jumping round today to finish third place in the national championship and ninth overall.
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