Michael Jung (GER) and FischerRocana FST (StockImageServices/FEI)
Lausanne (SUI), 27 April 2016 – Germany’s Olympic champion Michael Jung returns to the scene of his 2015 triumph, the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event (USA), third leg of the FEI Classics™ 2015/2016, in an attempt to score back-to-back wins on the same horse, his brilliant mare FischerRocana FST.
If successful, Jung, who also won the world title here in 2010, would be the first rider to achieve this since Kim Severson (USA) on Winsome Adante in 2004 and 2005. Severson herself is entered this time, on the Irish-bred Fernhill Fearless.
Another big story is the return to CCI4* level of Blyth Tait (NZL), whose glittering career included a win at Kentucky on Welton Envoy in 2000. Tait, now 54, had won Olympic gold (in 1996) and two world titles (1990 and 1998) by the time he retired to pursue a career in the Thoroughbred industry back in his native New Zealand in 2004.
But the lure of the sport proved too great, and a few years ago he returned to Britain, where he has been building up his string, finishing 15th at Pau (FRA) CCI4* last year on Bear Necessity V, which is entered for Badminton next week. Tait brings Xanthus lll to Kentucky following their excellent second place at Boekelo (NED) CCI3* in 2015.
Tait’s welcome return to competition came in the wake of his old team mate Sir Mark Todd’s comeback in 2008. Kentucky is one of very few competitions Todd, 60, has not yet won, and he could easily rectify this omission with NZB Campino, his Olympic team bronze medalist at London 2012.
Another New Zealander, Tim Price, has winning credentials. Runner-up last year on Wesko, which has just been withdrawn from Olympic contention due to injury, Price could go close on the 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse Bango, 15th at Luhmühlen (GER) 2015. Both Jung and Price, currently third and fourth in the FEI Classics™ 2015/2016, are likely to be vying for supremacy on the leaderboard at this halfway mark in the series.
Kentucky has received a bumper entry and up to 90 horses from eight nations are expected to start the Dressage phase tomorrow. Phillip Dutton (USA), the last American rider to win America’s premier event, in 2008, is first into the historic stadium at 8.30am local time on Fernhill Fugitive.
Cross Country Course Designer Derek di Grazia is known for producing spectacular competition in the famous Kentucky Horse Park; among his new fences this year is a brand new water complex, one of four waters on the track, at fence 18.
Use hashtags #FEIClassics #Eventing.
See FEI Classics™ hub: www.fei.org/fei/events/fei-classics.
By Kate Green
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