Townend Intends To Seal Victory At HSBC FEI Classics Finale
Oliver Townend (GBR) has left no stone unturned in his burning ambition to win the valuable HSBC FEI Classics, and is giving Andrew Cawthray's elegant grey Thoroughbred Carousel Quest another outing, at Les Etoiles de Pau (FRA), the last event of the 2009 season.
The pair were recently impressive winners of The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (GBR), and, in a year to remember, put Townend into the elite band of riders who have won that and the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials, which he captured on Flint Curtis earlier this year, within 12 months.
These excellent results combined with 8th place on Carousel Quest at the first of the HSBC FEI Classics, the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event (USA), has given Townend a clear 12-point lead as we approach the series climax, at Les Etoiles de Pau. Townend is not invincible though as last year's winner, William Fox-Pitt (GBR) could still overhaul him if he wins and, with Fox-Pitt's record, that's far from impossible. Fox-Pitt, too, has armed himself with a serious 4* ride, the Argentine Thoroughbred Macchiato, 5th at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials (GBR) this year and a winner last year of Luhmuhlen CCI**** presented by E.ON Avacon Vertrieb (GER).
It's also possible for any rider to parachute into the top 5 by winning, or gaining two high placings, at Pau, and several have a chance of doing just that, as demonstrated by Bettina Hoy (GER) whose victory at Pau last year propelled her into 5th place.
One rider with a good chance of doing just that is Andrew Nicholson (NZL), with the young rising star Avebury, winner of Saumur CCI*** (FRA) this year, and the superb Cross-Country jumper Armada.
Among other favourites are Clea Phillipps (GBR) on former Blair Castle CCI*** winner Lead The Way, Matt Ryan (AUS) on the experienced Bonza Puzzle, and Austin O'Connor (IRL) who has had good 4* form with Pocket Rocket lll, finishing 12th here last year and 9th at Luhmuhlen this year.
The home side, France, has a strong entry of 13 riders, and hopes will be pinned on veteran hero Jean Teulere (FRA), who rides Matelot Du Grand Val, and Jean-Luc Goerens on Marychope de Marast, placed at Blenheim CCI*** (GBR) last year.
42 riders from 9 nations are entered: Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, USA. Dressage begins on Friday, October 23. The complete list of entries is attached.
2009 HSBC FEI CLASSICS Standings (after 4 of 5 events):
1 Oliver Townend (GBR) 33 points
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