Oliver Townend Could Make History by Winning the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing
LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY — Once again, the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, this year Presented by Bridgestone, will host a truly international event at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY, April 22-25. The Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, part of the HSBC FEI Classics Series, attracts many of the world’s best horses and riders as they vie for their share of $250,000 in prize money.
Enhancing this year’s schedule will be the official Kentucky Cup Dressage and Jumping Test Events for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG). The Games will be held at the Kentucky Horse Park, September 25-October 10, marking the first time that equestrian sport’s biggest event is being held outside Europe.
Riders and horses from eight countries in addition to the U.S., the largest foreign contingent since the 1978 World Three-Day Event Championships, will be tested at Rolex Kentucky in the Kentucky Cup Eventing Test Event of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.
As always, spectators at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event can look forward to rooting on their favorite horse-and-rider combinations from around the globe. In addition this year, thousands of people will be cheering for Oliver Townend of Great Britain, as he attempts to do what only one other event rider in the world has ever done, claim the $350,000 Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing.
Townend, 26, claimed a victory last May in the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials aboard Flint Curtis and in September he won another leg of the Rolex Grand Slam when he and Carousel Quest bested a field of 49 to win the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials, making him eligible to capture the Rolex Grand Slam if he can win Rolex Kentucky.
In September 2003, Pippa Funnell of Great Britain became the first rider in history to win the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing when she rode Primmore’s Pride to victory at the Burghley Horse Trials following back-to-back wins in the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event in April aboard Primmore’s Pride and the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials in May aboard Supreme Rock. Funnell’s sweep of the three CCI**** events earned her $250,000, the purse at that time, and a Pink Gold 18-carat Datejust Rolex watch. The payoff was the largest in Eventing history.
Should Townend succeed in joining Funnell as the second rider in history to win this prestigious title, he will have to triumph over a list of entries that includes past Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event and Olympic Champions.
Highlighting this year’s list of entries includes:
• 2008 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event Champion, four-time Olympic veteran and 2009 U.S. Eventing Association (USEA) Leading Rider of the Year Phillip Dutton of the United States.
• William Fox-Pitt of Great Britain, a member of the 2004 Olympic Silver Medal Team and 2008 Olympic Bronze Medal Team, and winner of the 2008 Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials CCI**** and the inaugural HSBC FEI ClassicTM Series.
• Three-time Olympian and 1999 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event CCI**** winner and two-time Rolex CCI*** winner Karen O’Connor of the United States.
• Three-time Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event CCI**** Champion and 2004 Olympic Team Bronze and Individual Silver Medalist, Kim Severson of the United States.
• Members of the 2008 US Olympic Team, Becky Holder and Amy Tryon.
“With the excitement of Oliver Townend and the WEG Test Events all surrounding this year’s Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, this is bound to be one of our most exciting years in recent memory,” said Jane Atkinson, Executive Vice President of Equestrian Events, Inc. (EEI), producer of the event. “The level of competition at Rolex is at an all-time high, and I hope everybody will come out and experience it with us in Kentucky!”
For those who can’t make it to Kentucky, there will be an expanded 90-minute broadcast on NBC on Saturday, May 15, from 3:00-4:30 p.m. EDT, just prior to the telecast of the 135th Preakness Stakes, the second leg of Thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown.
The only Four Star Event in the Western Hemisphere, the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event is the premier competition for the top horses and riders in the Olympic discipline of Eventing. For more information please visit the Rolex Kentucky website at www.rk3de.org.
For more information about the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games and for a Kentucky Cup Test Event schedule, please go to www.alltechfeigames.com.