Townend Stays in Front at 2019 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event
Cross-country day at the 2019 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event presented by MARS EQUESTRIAN finished with a shuffled leaderboard and a familiar face on top. Last year’s winner and overnight leaders Oliver Townend and Cooley Master Class remained in the lead after tackling Derek di Grazia’s technical course. Boyd Martin fills the second place slot with Tsetserleg, and Tim Price sits in third aboard Xavier Faer.
Looking to keep his place at the top, Townend added a few to his dressage score on course but still managed to stay in the lead with a 25.3. He and the Irish Sport Horse gelding confidently completed the tough course, which claimed more than one victim seemingly before the day even got started. “He was definitely up for it today, more so than I’ve ever felt him,” he said. “It didn’t matter the distance, his ears were pricked and his legs were out of the way. I hope he’s coming into his own; it’s his second [five-star] and he felt like he knew more about his job this year than last year.” “I was very conscious of not having the shoe on and he had a bit of a slip turning back into the main lake,” he continued, noting his time faults. “I felt like I was balancing more than I normally would, I was not trying to pick up big distances, just trying to keep him in balance all the while being a touch more conservative than normally.”
Moving into second before the final phase is the highest placed American duo, Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg, a Trakehner gelding. The team was one of a handful who finished with a double clear, keeping his dressage score of 27.9 and his hold on the Land Rover/United States Equestrian Federation CCI5*-L Championship. “My little guy felt a lot more seasoned and I have a better partnership with him. For a half-bred horse he’s got quite a good gallop and speed. He was just a gutsy little trier,” he said.
In third is New Zealand native Time Price, who is looking to snag the second step of the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing. He and Xavier Faer, an Irish Sport Horse gelding, were also clear, ending on a 30.9. “I had a good trip around on my horse today and I’m really happy with the fitness,” he said. “It walked demanding, because it was quite complex throughout and there was no way to get coasting and make up time or regain the horse’s composure. But he threw himself over everything-not clumsy but he’s not always the most coordinated, but he was trying his hardest and stayed upright in all the most important places,” he continued.