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Townend To Maintain Momentum In Germany
Luhmuehlen, Germany
Oliver Townend (GBR)
Oliver Townend (GBR) will be hoping to maintain momentum when all eyes turn to Germany this weekend for the third of the HSBC FEI Classics, the Luhmuehlen CCI**** presented by E.ON Avacon Vertrieb on 11-14 June.

Townend's eye-catching victory at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials last month, coupled with 8th place at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event in April, propelled him to the top of the HSBC FEI Classics standings, a challenge the 26-year-old has declared has shaped the way he has planned his season.

Excitingly, he thinks he has enough horses to attend all five events - and he is spurred on by the pressure of having to pay for his new farm.

Townend travels to Germany with Jackson d'Allez, a 12-year-old chestnut gelding - the pair led the cross-country at the HSBC FEI World Cup Eventing qualifier at Tattersalls - and Golden Hue, 17th at Boekelo CCI*** (NED) last year. It is a first 4-star outing for both horses.

However, he faces a competitive field of around 35 riders from nine nations - Germany, Australia, France, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Japan, South Africa and USA.

Rider experience ranges from that of triple Olympic gold medalist Andrew Hoy (AUS) who is now based in Warendorf, Germany, and five-time Olympian Mary King (GBR), to 25-year-old South African Stuart Fitzgerald contesting his first 4-star. He rides Classic Diamond Charm, with whom he finished 2nd at Vairano CCI*** (ITA) this year.

Hoy rides Grove Joca, 7th at Vairano, and King has her home-bred mare Kings Temptress, 17th at Boekelo CCI*** last year. King only just missed the prize-money in the HSBC FEI Classics last year, and will be more than keen to rectify the omission in 2009.

The British entry also includes former Luhmuehlen winner Ruth Edge (2007) on Marsh Mayfly and former police horse PC Wilson, and Olympic bronze medalists Kristina Cook and Miners Frolic, whose spring plans were blighted by a virus.

The home side has plenty of armoury. Olympic gold medalist Frank Ostholt (GER) will be one of the favourites on his 2006 Luhmuehlen winner and World gold medallist Air Jordan, 3rd in the HSBC FEI World Cup Eventing Final in Deauville last year.

Other fancied German riders include Michael Jung on La Biosthetique Sam FBW, a winner of Compiegne CCI** this year, and Kai Ruder on Prince de Bois and the recent Marbach HSBC FEI World Cup Eventing winners, Simone Deitermann and Flambeau H.

Luhmuehlen will play host to the 2011 FEI European Eventing Championship, and already plans are in place with a newly dedicated 4-star cross-country track which has been specially preserved for this year and will offer a higher standard of turf underfoot.

Course-designer Mark Phillips (GBR) says: "For the first time we have a designated track that has been roped off from horses and vehicles to ensure we have the best possible going for the horses. The Luhmuehlen 4-star course developed from last year and is working towards the FEI European Championships in 2011. I am looking forward to seeing riders from all over the world test their skills over this challenging but fair track."

2009 HSBC FEI CLASSICS Standings (after 2 of 5 events):
1 Oliver Townend (GBR) 18 points;
2 William Fox-Pitt (GBR) 17;
3 Lucinda Fredericks (AUS) 15;
4 Bettina Hoy (GER) 12;
5 Lucy Wiegersma (GBR) 11;
6 Buck Davidson (USA) 10;
7 Sam Griffiths (AUS) 10;
8 Nicholas Touzaint (FRA) 8;
9 Roberto Rotatari (ITA) 8;
10 Phillip Dutton (USA) 4

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