byEditorial Staff| Apr 30, 2018
Most people would need several days—if not a week—to recover from competing in a CCI4* event. But for Great Britain’s Oliver Townend, who is fresh off of the win at the 2018 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event, yesterday’s excitement is already old news. His sights are set on this week’s Badminton Horse Trials and the possibility of adding “Rolex Grand Slam Winner” to his resume.
If he does, it will be major. Oliver could be the third event rider in history to claim the massive $350,000 cash prize, which is awarded to the rider who consecutively wins the three toughest CCI4*s in the world: Burghley, Kentucky, and Badminton (in any order). The first was Pippa Funnell in 2003, when the prize was $250,000 (nothing to shake a stick at), and the second was “The Terminator” Michael Jung in 2016.
Oliver claimed the Burghley title in September 2017 with Ballaghmor Class, and now the newly-dubbed Land Rover Kentucky Three Day Event with Cooley Master Class. Oliver’s win also broke Michael Jung’s winning streak at Kentucky (the German rider has won the past three years in a row), but Miche wasn’t far behind, finishing second on FischerRocana FST. Top-placed American, Marilyn Little, was named national champion for her third-place effort, but came under fire on social media for both her too-tight noseband during the dressage phase and the blood in RF Scandalous’ mouth after the cross-country phase. This isn’t the first time “Marilyn” and “blood rule” have come up in the same sentence – even with the same horse.
Badminton begins on May 2, and all eyes will be on Townend and his mounts Cooley SRS and Ballaghmor Class. Will he take home the $350,000 Grand Slam prize on one of the two geldings? We will know in just a few days.
Photos by Shannon Brinkman and Kaitlyn Karssen.