Townend and Cooley Master Class Defend Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event Title
In a repeat finish, the 2019 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event presented by MARS EQUESTRIAN at the Kentucky Horse Park found last year’s winners, Oliver Townend and Cooley Master Class, take the top prize again. Top-placing American team Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg stayed in second, securing the Land Rover/United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) CCI5*-L Championship, and Tim Price held onto third with Xavier Faer.
With the pressure on from Martin’s clear round only moments before, Townend, of Great Britain, and the Irish Sport Horse gelding went into the final round needing a clear round to stay in the lead. Rolex Stadium was silent as the duo completed Richard Jeffery’s course in an attempt to take the competition for a second year in a row, eventually finishing on a score of 25.3 to an erupting crowd. This win put Townend in an elite group of riders who have successfully defended their title at the event, being only the fourth to do so.
“We’ve always believed in the horse, and it’s thanks to everybody at home putting in a huge team effort. It was just my job to push the buttons at the right point in time. I couldn’t be more proud of the horse and the whole team,” he said. “Obviously my round went to plan,” he continued. “We had a rub at the Land Rover water tray but he’s a very good jumper so even when he touches a jump, he does it lightly and then apologizes for the next six jumps. It was definitely the most (high pressure) round I’ve ever ridden and I’m just glad I didn’t muck it up for him.”
With his second place finish after a fault-free ride, Martin snagged the USEF Championship and ended on his dressage score of 27.9. His mount, a Trakehner gelding, gave him a bit of a rough warm-up but buckled down for the final round. “He doesn’t give you the most confidence in warm-up. He was jumping all over the shop and twisting and these other two (Price and Townend) were giggling at me a bit,” he laughed. “But he gets in the ring and spooks that little bit and I think he loves the atmosphere and the crowd. He tapped the first fence and I thought, ‘oh, crap this is going to be a long round,’ but then he really tried.”
Completing the podium was New Zealand native Tim Price with a 30.9. “He was jumping really well. He’s keeping his shape now even when he’s looking at a fence, and it actually helped a bit on a day like today,” he said of Xavier Faer, an Irish Sport Horse gelding. “He’s a lovely, big, scopey honest horse, and he will come on from this and be an exciting horse as he gets more established.”