Britain’s Oliver Townend riding Cooley Master Class were crowned the winners of the 2018 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event after a nail-biting finale to the competition. Michael Jung (GER) and FischerRocana FST finished second, with USA’s Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous ending their Land Rover Kentucky campaign not only in third place, but also as the Land Rover USEF CCI4* National Champions.
The final day of the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event started in dramatic fashion with both Michael Jung and Christopher Burton’s horses instructed to go to the holding area during the final horse inspection. Tensions were high as the packed crowds waited eagerly for the leading riders to re-present, with both horses eventually passed by the judges.
Over 25,000 spectators flooded the stadium in anticipation of one of the closest competitions in history at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event with only 1.2 penalties separating the top three riders, Michael Jung, Christopher Burton and Oliver Townend respectively.
Fifth-to-go, Marilyn Little aboard RF Scandalous, displayed a text-book clear round finishing to an eruption of applause from the patriotic home crowd, hoping to see a US rider victorious for the first time since 2008. This dream was short-lived as next in to the arena was Great Britain’s Oliver Townend who produced the ride of his life to go clear, celebrating in style with his fist punching the air in recognition of his incredible round. This heaped further pressure on the final two riders. Australia’s Christopher Burton followed but had an unfortunate eight faults pushing Townend closer to the coveted prize. Only one rider could have prevented Townend’s success; all eyes fell on the three-time defending champions, Michael Jung and FischerRocana FST as they entered the arena, hoping to make history once more. On this rare occasion Jung was unable to clinch the title with four faults dropping him into second place to give Townend a well-deserved victory and keys to a 12-month lease of a Land Rover Discovery vehicle.
❝ It's a different world, it's something I have dreamt of for a long time. We have come a long way to be here and the owners have funded it so I am so grateful to them for this opportunity. The Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event is one of, if not, the best events in the world, the atmosphere is amazing and the fans are fantasic, it's been the best week!"
Oliver Townend, Great Britain
Townend continued to pay tribute to Cooley Master Class, “I have had him since he was four-year’s-old, he has won at nearly every level and never lets us down. He has suffered with injuries in the past and at some points we weren’t sure if he would even come through but the last two seasons he has been amazing, he has always been cheeky and extremely talented so it’s great to be here with him.”
Michael Jung commented on his performance, “I am sad for FischerRocana as that was absolutely my mistake, but I am happy with our performance and I love this event, it is so beautiful. FischerRocana has been amazing and is incredible to ride, so I am pleased with her.”
Courtesy of Revolution Sports
Images Nielson Barnard
(LEXINGTON, KY, USA) – April 28, 2018 – Germany's Michael Jung moves one step closer to re-writing history as he takes back the lead following a spectacular cross-country ride on FischerRocana FST. Australia's Christopher Burton was one of eleven riders to finish clear under the optimum time of 11.03 mins aboard Nobilis 18, keeping his score of 27.9 and putting the pressure on Michael Jung who has just a 0.4 advantage. Great Britain's Oliver Townend sits in third and fourth place with his eyes on a 'Land Rover double' to follow up his win at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials last September.
Michael Jung spoke of his cross-country round, "I had a really fantastic ride today, FischerRocana was in very good condition and really enjoyed herself. At the Land Rover Head of the Lake I wanted to do four strides, but missed this.
❝ FischerRocana was really fighting for me and it makes me so proud she never gives up – she had an opportunity to run out but she didn’t and that’s what our partnership is all about. She jumped well and galloped fast and it was so nice to feel that she had great fun on a tough course like this.❞
Michael Jung, Germany
Christopher Burton is looking forward to tomorrow's show jumping, "We are all used to sitting behind Michael Jung! To be honest, we are just so excited to be here, my horse went fantastically today and I am so grateful to my owners for funding this trip. We have a lot of work to do ahead of tomorrow and a long way to go yet, so for now I am just going to enjoy the run we had."
There will be no room for error in tomorrow's show jumping test as only 1.2 penalties separate the top three, making the competition fiercer than ever. With 25,000 spectators expected to attend tomorrow's event, the home crowd will be eager to see Lynn Symansky (USA) claim a victory for the US for the first time in 10 years. Partnered with her thoroughbred gelding, Donner, Symansky currently lies in joint-fourth place just 3.8 penalties from the top of the leaderboard.
Courtesy of Revolution Sports
In his second year as course designer Eric Winter has taken the traditional line and reversed the direction of the Badminton Course. Starting as ever in the main arena over the familiar flower bed, the ASX Starter (1) riders head left to a choice of inviting Rolex Feeder roll top spreads (2), one of very few portable fences on this track.
Earthworks have created a mound on the way through the car park where there is an impressive fallen tree on the top, the HorseQuest Hump (3). This is designed to break up the natural flatness of the park on the way to the HorseQuest Quarry (4 AB), which Eric describes as back to being how God intended it, with a dry stone wall drop in and its counterpart coming left on the top of the incline.
To avoid a flat out gallop there is a deviation through the trees to a very skinny brush with ditch to the fore on quite a sharp angle, the Rolex Grand Slam Skinny (5). It is then a right turn heading to Huntsman’s Close which this time consists of three very chunky logs on a tight turn (6 AB).
The new Traders Table (7) then keeps the rhythm going before last year’s log into the Lake (8), the Wadworths Water, this time transported to the House end of the water hazard. The entry to The Lake proper is the same route as last year over another massive log, with a brush in the water with a sharp right turn to a narrow brush up the slope (9 ABC).
For the first time in many years the Mitsubishi L200s pickups (10) now come after the Lake as the riders go in front of the tented village and jump left over the imposing World Horse Welfare Gates (11). Next comes a choice of maximum size parallels, the Formulate! White Oxers (12) and onto a natural Stick Pile (13). Turning right out of the Deer Park are a choice of corners (14), up a steep mound with a post and rails on the top (15) then down to another choice of corners away (16) at the Outlander PHEV Mound.
Heading towards the Luckington Lane is a massive triple bar with a drop, the Devoucoux Quad Bar (17). The following obstacle is perhaps simpler this time with a rail in and a parallel out (18 AB) at the Eclipse Cross Pond, then up the small hill over a let up brush, the Vicarage Rolltop (19) to the Hildon Water Pond, which consists of a log, slope into the pond, a running water trough and a hedge up the incline (20 ABC).
The yawning National Star Trakehner (21) is next before the classic KBIS Vicarage Vee (22, 23) and then back into the Park over a rail, down to a ditch and up and out over a narrow house (24 ABCD), the Shogun Hollow.
The Countryside Haywain (25) comes next in front of the House, then it is the portable wooden box followed by the boxed in corners, the Joules Corners, formerly used in Huntsman’s Close (26 ABC).
First seen last year is a very square BHS Table (27) then up past the steps to the Crooked S Bullfinch on the mound (28).
Coming down the hill is a box brush followed by two skinny moustache jumps at an angle (29 ABC), Savills Escalator.
Three from home is the old standard Fischer Brush (30), a beautifully carved single log (31), the Rolex Treetrunk and into the arena to the prize winning Shogun Sport Saddles (32).
The general feeling of the course is rustically impressive.
Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials
For Immediate Release 11/4/2018