Show jumping is typically not the most exciting part of an even like Kentucky. That’s usually reserved for cross country. However, coming into the final phase today, the top three riders were separated by only 1.2 points, so even a time fault would change the rankings. When Michael Jung and Christopher Burton both had rails, it opened the way for Oliver Townend and Cooley’s Master Class to move into first place, finishing on their dressage score of 28.7. Townend’s second ride, MHS King Joules, finished in seventh place, with one rail down.
Townend won September’s Burghley Horse Trials and his victory in Kentucky means he is now in contention for the Rolex Grand Slam — awarded to any rider with consecutive wins at Burghley, Kentucky and Badminton, which is held next week. The £255,000 prize has been achieved only twice — by Michael Jung and Pippa Funnell.
Michael Jung, who had been on deck for a ground breaking fourth consecutive win in Kentucky, finished second on FischerRocana FST and Marilyn Little was third on RF Scandalous.