Brits prepare for RK3DE invasion

William Fox-Pitt and Bay My Hero on the cross-country at Kentucky.
William Fox-Pitt and Bay My Hero on the cross-country at Kentucky last year.

The British are coming!

Zara Phillips and her Olympic horse High Kingdom at Blenheim in 2010.
Zara Phillips and High Kingdom. © Fiona Scott-Maxwell.

To the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, that is – and the modern-day invaders are making a five-pronged attack on the USA’s most prestigious, and only four-star, three-day-event.

Sitting at the beginning of the season, the CCI4* provides the first big test for British riders in the 2015 calendar, with the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials coming just two weeks later.

Last year’s winner William Fox-Pitt leads the British attack, with his winning horse from 2014, Bay My Hero, being joined by 2012 winner Parklane Hawk, and Freddie Mac.

Zara Phillips is taking her London 2012 team silver medal winner and WEG 2014 ride High Kingdom; Francis Whittington will partner 2014 Blenheim Horse Trials 3* winner Easy Target; Nicola Wilson is entered with her 2014 WEG ride Annie Clover and also Watermill Vision; and US based Brit James Alliston is entered with Tivoli, on whom he won the  weekend’s CIC3* Gold Cup at Galway Downs in California, and also Parker.

British eventer Nicola Wilson and Annie Clover. © Mike Bain
Nicola Wilson and Annie Clover. © Mike Bain

The Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, presented by Land Rover, gets under way at the end of next month, from April 23 to 26.

The British athletes are supported by the UK Sport National Lottery funded World Class Programme.

It was announced late last year that the prizemoney for the RK3DE was being increased by $50,000 to $300,000, with $100,000 going to the winner along with a Rolex watch. It is also one of the legs of the $350,000 Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing, which is awarded to any rider who wins the Rolex Kentucky, Mitsubishi Motors Badminton and Land Rover Burghley Four Star Events in succession.

The winner of September’s Burghley Horse Trials, New Zealand’s Andrew Nicholson, is not a starter at Kentucky, so the Grand Slam journey will begin with the 2015 RK3DE winner.

A record 91 horses have been entered for this year’s event, breaking last year’s record of 82. The field includes 75 riders from nine countries including Australia, Canada, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, New Zealand, Sweden, The Netherlands and USA.

International entries includes Michael Jung of Germany who won individual Gold medals at both the 2012 Olympic Games in London and the 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games at the Kentucky Horse Park.

US rider Phillip Dutton, a five-time Olympian with two Gold medals to his name, will be looking to reclaim the Rolex Kentucky title that he won in 2008 with one of the three horses that he has entered. He heads a strong US contingent that will be seeking to win the Rolex title for the US for the first time since Dutton’s win in 2008.


Blenheim CCI3* winners Frances Whittington and Easy Target.
Blenheim CCI3* winners Frances Whittington and Easy Target. © Nigel Goddard/KSDigital Photography

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