Ollie Townend tops British event rider rankings

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Oliver Townend and Armada (GBR).
Oliver Townend and Armada at Burghley earlier this year. © Mike Bain

Oliver Townend has scooped eventing’s year-end pool, topping the British Eventing Points rankings for the first time since 2009, and winning the Tony Collings Award for the best British rider.

Townend has been in the top three of the rankings every year since 2004, and when he last topped the rankings in 2009, he had won both the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials and the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials.

During the 2014 season Yorkshire-based Townend, 31, amassed 1556 points. Notable wins came at Ballindenisk CICO3* and CCI2*, and Rockingham Castle, Floors Castle and Brightling Park’s CIC2*s.

Then there was Armada’s runner-up finish at Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials and eighth place at the Land Rover Burghley CCI4*s, and Black Tie II’s fourth place at Luhmuehlen CCI4* which resulted in the pair’s selections for the Senior British WEG squad. In total Townend won nine international and 24 national classes this year.

“It’s been a good year, and a bonus to finish at the top of the table again,” Townend said. “Thanks to my great group of loyal owners, who are friends as much as owners, I have an exciting team of horses who have really stepped up to the plate. There’s a lot of work to do over the winter, but I have plenty to be excited about thinking ahead to next season.”

William Fox-Pitt retained his second place from last year, with a points total of 1272. His score was boosted by a win and ninth place at Rolex Kentucky CCI4* along with good results at Bramham, Burghley, Blenheim and the WEG, where he and Chilli Morning brought home the individual bronze medal.

Last year’s leader, Andrew Nicholson (NZL), dropped to third place on 1246. The spring CCI4*s did not go Nicholson’s way, but as the season progressed the remarkable Avebury produced wins at the British Open Championships, Barbury CIC3* and, of course, Land Rover Burghley CCI4*, boosting his points total.

CCI2* section winner David Doel and Miss Caruso.
David Doel and Miss Caruso on their way to winning the CCI2* section at Barbury in July. © Barbury Horse Trials

Wiltshire-based David Doel, 21, is this year’s recipient of the Goldman Cup, awarded to the leading under-21 rider at the end of each season. Doel slipped ahead of Tom Jackson on the very last weekend of competition, winning a total of 25 points at Aldon – including taking the CIC1*YH class. His final points tally is 263.

Doel got ahead of the game with a successful trip to Portugal in February for the Sunshine Tour. Miss Caruso was particularly consistent this year, providing CCI and CIC2* wins as well as a place on the Askham Bryan Young Rider team at the Young Rider European Championships, but success in the rankings has come from a good string across the levels.

“Being selected for the Askham Bryan Young Riders was obviously a highlight for me this year – European Championships are always exciting, and then winning a couple of senior internationals at Camphire and Barbury stand out,” Doel said. “I have a really decent string of lovely younger horses, so the next couple of seasons will be rebuilding years for me. Having said that, I also hope to be selected for a Nations Cup team or two.

“To finish on a high, with a one-star win on my last ride of the season, and then to win the points rankings is fantastic. I definitely like winning prizes!”

Tom Jackson was runner up  having posted the biggest win of his career to date this year, the Bramham CCI3* U25 on Waltham Fiddlers Find. The same partnership also finished seventh individually at the Young Rider European Championships, all contributing to his points tally of 251.

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