Oliver Townend lying second in Rolex Grand Prix
England-based Padraig McCarthy is the top-placed Irish rider in ninth place
Oliver Townend riding Ballaghmor Class before the Dressage test on day three. Photograph: Simon West/Action Plus via Getty Images
Britain’s Oliver Townend could still become just the third winner of the Rolex Grand Prix but, following Saturday’s cross-country phase of the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton horse trials in England, he is lying second to New Zealand’s Jonelle Price although both are on a score of 28 penalties.
On the holding ground, no combination went clear within the time allowed of 11 minutes 49 seconds over the Eric Winter-designed 32-fence track. Price came closest when just a second over which resulted in her picking up 0.4 of a time penalty with the 15-year-old black mare Classic Moet.
With his second ride, the Irish Sport Horse gelding Ballaghmor Class, on which he won Burghley last year, Townend added 7.2 time penalties to his winning dressage score of 20.8 while, with a similar amount of time penalties, he lies in fifth place with another ISH gelding, Cooley SRS (33.1) on which he was second out on the course.
Townend’s riding brought him to the attention of the ground jury who gave him an official warning regarding his over-use of the whip on both horses and told him that the horses would be checked very carefully on Sunday morning for the horse inspection for their fitness to compete in the jumping phase. While Ballaghmor Class was accepted straight away, Cooley SRS only progressed to show jumping phase on re-presentation.
Britain’s Rosalind Canter, who, like Price, is one of the lighter riders competing at the event, is in third place ahead of the final phase on Allstar B (30.3) while Germany’s Michael Jung lies fourth with the 18-year-old La Biosthetique Sam (30.7) on which he won this event, and subsequently the Grand Slam, in 2016.
England-based Padraig McCarthy is the top-placed Irish rider in ninth with Mr Chunky (35.3), Joseph Murphy is lying 15th on Sportsfield Othello (41.3), Ciaran Glynn is in 30th spot on November Night (58.2) with Alan Nolan, the only other Irish rider left in the competition, occupying 49th place on Bronze Flight (99.7).