German Rider Michael Jung Repeats As Rolex Champion
German competitor Michael Jung claimed the Rolex Kentucky Title for a second time Sunday, becoming only the third competitor in the event’s history to win back-to-back events on the same horse.
Jung seems to make a habit of breaking records, and it was widely expected that he would win the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event again this weekend, when he returned with last year’s winner Fischerrocanna FST. The mare likes it here, which is why he brought her back for another tilt at the title this year.
What no-one predicted was how far ahead of the rest of the field he’d be - some thirteen penalties separated him and second placed US rider Lauren Kieffer. From the very first day of dressage Jung laid down a commanding lead, and only widened it as the competition progressed.
As others faltered in the rain and mud on cross country day, adding jumping faults and time penalties to their scores, Jung and his mare galloped relentlessly round the course, jumping clear, and recording the fastest time of the day. In the final show-jumping phase on Sunday afternoon Michael was so far ahead he could afford to have an incredible four rails down and still win, but as it happened he only had one down. Americans Lauren Kieffer and Maya Black finished second and third on Veronica and Doesn’t Play Fair respectively, Phillip Dutton filled fourth and fifth places on two of his three rides. Now they must be wondering if he’s planning to return again next year.
By winning Rolex Jung has now secured the first two legs of Eventing’s Triple Crown, the Rolex Grand Slam. The third competition takes place next weekend in Badminton England but Jung is determined to treat it like a normal competition. He flies there Monday to start training his horse in that event, Olympic and World Champion La Biosthetique Sam.
Attendance at Rolex Kentucky throughout the weekend was 82,110 despite the weather.