28 Oct 2010

Ollie Townend rushed to hospital after fall at Kentucky

British number one eventer Oliver Townend was hospitalised yesterday after suffering a horror fall at the Rolex Kentucky competition in America.

However, Townend could compete in the final phase of the competition today – just hours after being airlifted to hospital.
Townend was transferred to the University of Kentucky Hospital by helicopter after suffering a crashing fall two thirds of the way through his cross-country round with Ashdale Cruise Master, his second round of the day.
As the combination jumped a four-foot rail, the horse appeared to slip and Townend fell off over the front. Ashdale was uninjured in the accident, and Townend could now return to ride his other horse ODT Master Rose – currently lying seventh – in tomorrow’s showjumping finale.
Townend, who took fifty-one hours to travel from his Shropshire base to Lexington due to Europe’s flight chaos earlier this week, is bidding to land the £230,000 Rolex Grand Slam for winning consecutive four-starevents – Badminton, Burghley and Kentucky in his case.
Indications are that he has been cleared to ride (ODT Master Rose) today, subject to an assessment in the morning and how he feels.
Two other riders fell at the same fence – called The Hollow – but both Kristi Nunnink and Tara Ziegler were able to walk away unhurt.

Moments after Oliver's Fall. Photo: AP
Yorkshireman Townend enjoyed sustained success in 2009, taking the Badminton and Burghley titles, while also being crowned HSBC Classics champion and winning a team gold medal with Great Britain at the European Championships in Fontainebleau, France.
The Grand Slam was next on his target list – a feat so rare that it has only been achieved once before, by Townend’s fellow Briton Pippa Funnell in 2003.
British Olympian William Fox-Pitt, meanwhile, produced a sparkling cross-country ride on Cool Mountain to retain his lead going into the showjumping phase.
Their score of 42.8 from yesterday’s dressage test – the combination accrued no penalties or time faults on the cross-country circuit – means Fox-Pitt has an outstanding chance of capturing his first Kentucky title and £50,000.
The 41-year-old’s first thoughts though, were for Townend.
“The good news is he has regained consciousness and is cursing and swearing, so hopefully this means he is okay, much to the relief of us all here,” said Fox-Pitt, of his Great Britain team-mate.
As for his own performance, Fox-Pitt added: “Cool Mountain performed beyond all expectations today, jumping clear inside the time.
“I am so thrilled with him and I am obviously very pleased to hold on to my lead. However, with many top riders bunched in behind, it is sure to be a tight competition.
“Cool Mountain appears to be in good shape this evening, and the pressure is now definitely on for tomorrow.”


Oliver townend receives treatment.

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