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Page last updated at 19:41 GMT, Sunday, 25 April 2010 20:41 UK

Fall injuries end eventer Townend's Grand Slam hopes

Olver Townend
Two other riders also fell at the same fence as Townend

Oliver Townend's hopes of winning eventing's £230,000 Rolex Grand Slam are over after injuries forced him out of the Kentucky cross-country event.

Cracks to his collarbone, chest bone and ribs after Saturday's fall ruled Townend out of Sunday's show jumping.

In his absence, William Fox-Pitt became only the second Britain to win the Rolex Kentucky.

Riding Cool Mountain, he led throughout from his dressage test and won by 4.9 points from American Philip Dutton.

Twice an Olympic team medallist and multi-European Championship medal winner, Fox-Pitt picked up £50,000 for winning the event.

Dutton, the 2008 Kentucky champion, finished second with Woodburn, while fellow American Becky Holder on Courageous Comet was third.

Fox-Pitt's previous best Kentucky finishes had been third in 2003 and two fourth-placed results.

Townend's crashing fall from Ashdale Cruise Master during Saturday's cross-country at fence 20, where two other riders also fell, means he is set to miss out on defending the Badminton title he won last year, with that event due to begin on Friday.

"I feel a bit bashed and bruised, but my spirits are good," said the 27-year-old Yorkshireman.

"I will fly home and hopefully get a good rest on the plane. At least the trip home should be easier than the journey here."

Townend had gone to Kentucky aiming to win one of equestrian sport's most coveted prizes, a six-figure jackpot for winning three consecutive four-star titles.

Having already won at Badminton and Burghley in 2009, Townend had the chance to become the first man to equal British rider Pippa Funnell's unprecedented Grand Slam of 2003.

And he had endured a 51-hour roundabout journey to reach Kentucky in pursuit of his third win due to the travel chaos caused by the volcanic ash cloud.

"I want to get well quickly and start riding again as soon as possible. It's a tough sport and these things happen," he added.

"I was very fit going into Kentucky, and the physical strengthening work I did helped me take such a hard fall without serious damage.

"I have to be grateful for my inflatable air bag jacket and riding hat. They both saved me from suffering more serious injuries."



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see also
Townend ready for Grand Slam bid
21 Apr 10 |  Equestrian
Townend and Tapner win in Norfolk
03 Apr 10 |  Equestrian
Townend has eyes on 2012 Olympics
30 Sep 09 |  Olympics
Townend wins horse trials double
07 Sep 09 |  Other sport...
Townend secures Badminton victory
10 May 09 |  Equestrian
Equestrian sport on the BBC
05 Sep 07 |  Equestrian


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