Oliver Townend wins Kentucky three-day event with Irish gelding

The sole Irish rider Tim Bourke finished in the top 20 for the fourth year in a row

Britain's Oliver Townend won the weekend's Land Rover Kentucky three-day event when show jumping clear on Sunday with the Irish Sport Horse gelding Cooley Master Class to complete on his dressage score of 28.7 penalties.

Germany’s Michael Jung was leading going into the final phase with fischerRocana FST, on which he was bidding for a fourth successive victory at the top American event. However, last in, the mare rolled a pole to drop the combination to second (31.5). The host nation’s Marilyn Little finished third with RF Scandalous (32.8).

The sole Irish rider, Co Mayo-born Tim Bourke and the ISH gelding Luckaun Quality finished in the top 20 for the fourth year in a row, a pole down and six time penalties on Sunday seeing them complete in 19th place on a total of 50.2. Bourke and his 13-year-old son of OBOS Quality 004 were one of 11 combinations from 43 cross-country starters to go clear inside the time on the second phase.

Townend’s winning mount, Cooley Master Class, which was competing in a four-star event for the first time, was bred in Co Wicklow by John Hagan. The bay gelding is by the Belgian Warmblood stallion Ramiro B (which Townend now stands at the Harthill Stud in Cheshire), out of a mare by the thoroughbred stallion Master Imp.

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Having won the Burghley three-day event last August with the ISH gelding, Ballaghmor Class, Townend has a chance to complete the Rolex Grand Slam of eventing this week when he competes at the Badminton horse trials in England with Cooley SRS, another Ramiro B gelding bred in this country.

Irish riders due to take on the four-star challenge are Clare Abbott (Euro Prince), Aoife Clark (Master Rory), Jonty Evans (Cooley Rorkes Drift), Ciaran Glynn (Killossery Jupiter Rising and November Night), Padraig McCarthy (Mr Chunky), Joseph Murphy (Sportsfield Othello), Alan Nolan (Bronze Flight) and James O’Haire (China Doll).