Oliver Townend: British rider’s Grand Slam hopes over after Ballaghmor Class Badminton withdrawal

    Oliver Townend’s hopes of winning the Rolex Grand Slam are over after his horse Ballaghmor Class was withdrawn from the Badminton Horse Trials.

    The British world number one was bidding to become just the third rider in history to win the Grand Slam – eventing’s three five-star competitions in a row.

    Townend ticked off Burghley in September and Kentucky in April.

    The 41-year-old said he was “absolutely gutted” to withdraw Ballaghmor Class less than 48 hours before Badminton starts on Wednesday.

    In a statement released by Badminton, Townend said: “He had an abscess earlier in the season and consequently missed a couple of runs and gallops.

    “This morning he went for his final gallop and with the 11.5-minute cross country course – combined with the possible soft ground – we don’t feel he is at his normal five-star fitness right now.

    “He is fit and well and knowing his huge heart he would give us his all, but it is simply not in his best interest to run this week and his welfare is our top priority.”

    The last person to win the Grand Slam was Germany’s double Olympic individual champion Michael Jung in 2016, while Britain’s Pippa Funnell completed her hat-trick at Burghley in 2003.


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