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Oliver Townend strikes into podium place


  • Oliver Townend has moved up to third after the Maryland 5 Star cross-country today (15 October) with Sir John Peace’s As Is.

    The British pair were 10th after dressage but the five-star first-time horse grew in confidence round Ian Stark’s cross-country course to come home inside the time.



    “Obviously he was very green in places but he’s a cool horse,” said Oliver. “He’s very pony-like, he looks after himself and you tell him what to do, he generally does it. He’s very, very intelligent.”

    The grey banked the wide brush oxer at fence five, the Buckeye Nutrition Brush.

    “I don’t know whether he was green there or whether he just thought it looked a bit wide for him. Anyway, he had one little reminder and from that point on, he was like, ‘Okay, I’m going, I’m going, I’m going’. He’s a bit terrier-like – you can say come on, and he responds with his ears pricked.

    “He’s a bit cute, I think, and it’s nice to have one that seems to love his job and for a careful horse, the gallop is incredible.

    “I eased down for the last four or five fences and honestly, I was conscious of not easing down too much because he is a pony so he is well able to say, ‘Okay, we’ve done then’ and stop prematurely. But I couldn’t be happier for him and well done for Andrew Nicholson, who has produced yet another potential superstar.”

    As well as paying tribute to the horse’s former jockey in Andrew, Oliver also said this is “cool” for the Peace family’s Team Caunton.

    “It’s only my first year riding for these guys and they’ve had two new five-star horses and both have gone clear inside the time at their first five-star,” said Oliver, referring also to Lukas, who was eighth at Luhmühlen Horse Trials in June. “So whole credit goes to the home team and Sir John and Lady Christine and Victoria Peace, who are all behind this new venture. I’m just the lucky pilot.”

    Britain’s other representative, Harry Meade, also finished fault-free today over the Maryland 5 Star cross-country course on Mandy Gray’s Superstition. The pair have moved up from 21st after dressage to 15th.

    Harry said: “I was delighted with my horse, I can’t fault him with how he went. He was absolutely brilliant. He gave me a dream ride. I’m still waiting to try and take him to a five-star that really can separate the field [particularly in terms of a tighter time] and show his quality.”

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