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Oliver Townend in the dark over his GB snub

By Nick Elwell | Sport | Published:

Shropshire equestrian star Oliver Townend believes there was nothing more he could do to earn selection for the British squad for next month’s World Equestrian Games.

Oliver Townend

The world No.1, who is competing as defending champion at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials this weekend, was a surprise omission from the squad when it was announced earlier this month.

He had been long-listed on three horses, Ballaghmor Class, Cooley Master Class and Cooley SRS, but he was left out of the squad for the event in Tyron, North Carolina.

And the 36-year-old, from Duddleston Heath, near Ellesmere, admits he has no idea why he was not selected, despite being part of the gold medal-winning GB team in the European Championships last year.

“I don’t know anything (about selection for World Equestrian Games),” he said. “You should ask the people that make the decisions, but I’ve done my bit.

“I hope that I’ve performed to the best of my abilities with the draw that I had at the Europeans last year and went out as pathfinder and hopefully did my job.

“Hopefully I found out the problems that they wanted finding out and hopefully got the horse home as quickly as possible.

“I’m told that four-star form was required and I finished first, first and second in the last three four-stars with three different horses and that’s all I can do.”

As well as being pathfinder for the British team riding Cooley SRS in Strzegom, Townend has been in impressive form in four-star events this season. He finished second to Jonelle Price on Cooley SRS at Badminton, with his 2017 Burghley Horse Trials winner Ballaghmor Class finishing in fifth place.

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He also took the US four-star title at Kentucky on Cooley Master Class, before warming up for Burghley by winning a CIC3* at Burgham on Ballaghmor Class in July.

And with the three horses he had listed for the World Equestrian Games at the top of their game, the Shropshire-based star vowed to continue to shine on the big stage.

“All three horses listed are in unbelievable form,” said Townend, who was speaking at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials, one of just six four-star events in the calendar, which is expected to attract more than 160,000 visitors from August 30 - September 2.

“I’ve never been in such a position and I’m very fortunate and very grateful to the owners for having and keeping the horses with me for their careers as long as they have.

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“Obviously we’ve had the option to sell them at various parts for big money, so I’m very grateful.

“I’ve never been in such a good place. The horses are sound, the horses are fit and happy and I’ll just keep going to the big events and doing what I do.”

The multi-award-winning Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials from August 30 – September 2 has been established as a major international equestrian and social event in the Autumn Sporting Calendar for over 50 years. For more information visit burghley-horse.co.uk

Nick Elwell

By Nick Elwell
Grassroots Sports Editor

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