Oliver Townend and Cooley Master Class Begin the Kentucky Three Day Challenge
Sunday, April 28, 2019
Lexington, Ky., April 26, 2019-Oliver Townend returned to the Kentucky Horse Park a reigning champion, and he took a strong step towards defending his title with a dominant performance in dressage aboard Cooley Master Class at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event presented by MARS EQUESTRIAN.
Townend, representing Great Britain, stands first with a score of 24.1, followed by countryman Piggy French riding Quarrycrest Echo (27.1). American Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg (27.9) is third, and has taken over the top spot in the Land Rover/USEF CCI5*-L Championship. Yesterday's top ride, Felix Vogg of Switzerland on Calero, stands fourth with a score of 28.0.
"It's obviously a great feeling to be back here to start with, this is one of my favorite events," Townend, 36, Ellesmere, England, said of his return to Kentucky. "People here are very, very friendly, the atmosphere is fantastic, the stadium is out of this world. If I had to pick a place to be the last event of my career, it would be this one. It's such a special place to me."
The morning dawned blustery and wet, and today's riders had to contend with very different conditions from those who competed yesterday, though it didn't dampen the enthusiasm of the 11,676 spectators in attendance. But Townend actually felt the more challenging conditions helped him.
"Today, Cooley Master Class was very good and it's very nice to be in the lead after dressage," he said of the 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse. "In the weather he was slightly looky, but that worked out better because he went in there and went to sleep on me. But, he got woken up by flowers in the corner before the flying change. I was happy with his performance. I've had the horse since he was four years old. He knows me and I know him, and how to go have a clear round and press the right buttons, and he did a very good test today."