British rider Oliver Townend made sure his return to the Land Rover Kentucky Three Day Event with Cooley Master Class was a triumphant one, leading from pillar to post and becoming only the fourth rider in the competition’s 41 year history to successfully defend a Championship.
Cooley Master Class jumped clear within the time to finish on his overnight score of 25.3, sealing the win for the second year in a row. Townend takes home a check for $130,000, a year’s lease on a Land Rover Discovery and a Rolex watch.
American Boyd Martin, competing on his 2018 World Equestrian Games ride Tsetserleg, kept the pressure on by jumping clean and fast and leaving Townend no margin for error, but had to settle for second place. However as the highest place US rider he becomes the USEF CCI5*-L National Champion. Martin was one of only two riders in the competition to add nothing to his dressage score.
Third placed Tim Price from New Zealand also finished on his dressage score with Xavier Faer. Price had come to Kentucky with hopes of keeping his Rolex Grand Slam dreams alive after winning Burghley last Fall, but now the Grand Slam rolls over to Badminton next week where Townend has two horses to compete. The Rolex Grand Slam is awarded to any rider who can win Burghley, Kentucky and Badminton in succession; only two riders have ever accomplished this since it’s inception in 1999.