Oliver Townend is confident fatigue will not be a factor when he launches his quest for eventing’s Rolex Grand Slam today.
British star Townend arrived in Lexington, USA yesterday, after a mammoth fifty-one hour journey from his Shropshire home to Kentucky.
The epic trip featured three flights, two train journeys and three car rides, including a £1,600 taxi fare from Paris to Madrid, where he boarded a Miami-bound holiday charter flight.
The Icelandic volcanic ash cloud – and subsequent air travel chaos – left Townend with little choice in his attempt to reach Kentucky and contest one of equestrian sport’s most coveted prizes.
Having won Badminton and Burghley last year, the £230,000 Grand Slam will be Townend’s if he adds Kentucky to his title portfolio this Sunday evening.
“I was glad to see and ride my horses after my torturous trip. They are in great nick – I was very impressed by how well they are,” said the 27-year-old Yorkshireman.
“It’s been a difficult journey, but I am putting that behind me now and concentrating on the job I have to do.
“I don’t think I have suffered from the long hike to Kentucky – people who work with horses are used to long hours, early mornings and late nights.
“All those dark, icy mornings on the stable yard this winter toughened me up. We always joke that eventers only sleep in November anyway.”
Townend will enter the dressage arena with ODT Master Rose this afternoon, UK time, while his test aboard Ashdale Cruise Master is Friday evening.
The event, which also carries a £50,000 first prize, continues with cross-country on Saturday followed by Sunday’s showjumping finale.
For lots more information on Oliver Townend and to follow his progress at Kentucky please visit his official site: www.olivertownend.com