Olympic Gold and Silver medalist Michael Jung of Germany, the record three-time defending Kentucky Three-Day Event champion and winner of the 2016 Rolex Grand Slam, tops the list of Eventing superstars, including Olympic, World, and European champions, entered for the prestigious 2018 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event (LRK3DE). America’s only ‘Four-Star’ level Eventing competition, known as the “Best Weekend All Year,” returns to the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky, April 26-29.
The competition will be fierce with $400,000 in prize money on the line and a chance at the $350,000 Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing, which is awarded to any rider who wins the Land Rover Kentucky, Mitsubishi Motors Badminton and Land Rover Burghley ‘Four Star’ Events in succession. Some riders are entered with up to three horses, and the list includes 43 riders with 56 horses representing 7 nations including: Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, New Zealand, Poland, and the United States. This year’s LRK3DE is also a qualifying selection trial for the Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team that will represent the U.S. in the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games™ in September. Canada’s entries include Holly Jacks/More Inspiration, Waylon Roberts/Kelecyn Cognac, Hawley Bennett-Awad/Jollybo, Rachel McDonough/Irish Rhythm, Lisa Marie Fergusson/Honor Me, and Colleen Loach/Qorry Blue d’Argouges.
The top names joining Jung for this year’s event include: Olympic Silver and Bronze medalist William Fox-Pitt of Great Britain — a three-time Kentucky Three-Day Event champion — along with countryman Oliver Townend, a three-time European Championship Gold medalist; Olympic Bronze medalist Christopher Burton of Australia; two-time Olympic veteran Hawley Bennett-Awad of Canada; Tim Bourke and Sam Watson of Ireland; Olympic veteran Joe Meyer of New Zealand; Olympic veteran Pawel Spisak of Poland; and U.S. Olympic veterans Phillip Dutton, Boyd Martin, William Coleman, Lauren Kieffer, and Kim Severson, to name a few.
“We are thrilled to have so many top names in the sport entered for this year’s event,” said Stewart Perry, president of Equestrian Events, Inc. (EEI), organizer of the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event. “It’s going to be very exciting to see who’s going to win the title this year and whether Michael Jung can make history again with a record fourth consecutive title!”
Defending Champion Jung has entered FischerRocana FST, his three-time Kentucky Three-Day Event winning partner with whom he also won the team Gold and individual Silver medals at the 2014 FEI World Equestrian Games™ (WEG). After the pair won the Kentucky Three-Day Eventing 2015 and 2016, Jung became just the second rider in the event’s history to claim consecutive victories on the same horse. He then made Kentucky Three-Day Event history again when he won the title in 2017, making him the first rider to win three consecutive times since the event’s inception in 1978!
Jungis the first Eventing rider to hold the Olympic, World and European titles simultaneously and he leads the FEI World Eventing Athlete rankings. He won the individual Gold medal at the 2010 WEG in Kentucky as well as team Gold and individual Silver medals at 2014 WEG, double Gold medals at the 2012 London Olympic Games, and three consecutive European Championships (2011, 2013, 2015), a feat he achieved on three different horses! Jung successfully defended his Olympic title in 2016, re-claiming his individual Gold medal at the Rio Olympic Games aboard the same horse for yet another entry into the record books. He also won the individual Silver medal at the 2017 FEI European Championships in Poland.
The list of world-class riders entered to compete in the 2018 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event includes:
- Defending Champion and double Olympic Gold medalist Michael Jung of Germany and his three-time Kentucky Three-Day champion partner FischerRocana FST who are seeking a record fourth consecutive title as well as a leg of the Rolex Grand Slam.
- Five-time Olympic veteran William Fox-Pitt of Great Britain, who won two team Silvers (2012, 2004) and team Bronze (2008), WEG team Gold & individual Silver (2010), team Silver (2014, 2006), team Bronze (2002). Fox-Pitt is a three-time Kentucky Three-Day Champion (2014, 2012, 2010) also seeking his fourth title.
- Oliver Townend of Great Britain, a three-time team Gold medalist at the European Championships (2017, 2009, 2007), who is looking for his second leg of the Rolex Grand Slam having won the Burghley CCI4* last fall.
- Christopher Burton of Australia, who competed at the 2012 London Olympics and won a team Bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
- Joe Meyer of New Zealand, Olympic (2008) and WEG (2006) veteran.
- Pawel Spisak of Poland, a four-time Olympic veteran (2016, 2012, 2008, 2004).
- Phillip Dutton of the U.S.A., a six-time Olympic veteran with two team Gold medals (2000, 1996) for his native Australia, a team Bronze (2004) and individual Bronze (2016) for the U.S.A. He’s a six-time WEG veteran, the 2008 Kentucky Champion, as well as a two-time Pan American Games Team Gold medalist (2015, 2007) and individual Silver medalist (2007). He’s also won the USEF CCI4* National Championship title a record five times.
- Boyd Martin of the U.S.A., a 2012 and 2016 Olympic veteran and two-time WEG competitor (2014, 2010). Team Gold medalist at the 2015 Pan American Games.
- Lauren Kieffer of the U.S.A., Olympic veteran (2016), team Gold medalist at the 2015 Pan American Games. Winner of the USEF Four Star Championship at Kentucky (2014, 2016).
- Kim Severson of the U.S.A., Olympic veteran winning individual Silver and team Bronze medals (2004), WEG team Gold medalist (2002) and three-time Kentucky champion (2005, 2004, 2002).
- William Coleman of the U.S.A., 2012 Olympic veteran.
- Buck Davidson of the U.S.A., two-time WEG veteran (2014, 2010), two-time U.S. Olympic Team Alternate (2012, 2008) and winner of the USEF Four Star Championship at Kentucky (2013).
Many more of the sport’s leading riders from the U.S. and abroad are entered to compete. The full list of entries is available on line at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event website here.
The Dubarry of Ireland Nations Team Challenge will be featured again this year, awarding $20,000 in prize money to the winning nation. An exciting addition to the event this year is a $225,000 FEI CSI3* Invitational Show Jumping Grand Prix, to be held in Rolex Stadium on Saturday following the completion of Cross-Country. There will also be a $35,000 1.45m FEI ranking class, also in Rolex Stadium, after Friday afternoon’s Dressage.
The Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event is one of only six annual ‘Four Star’ three-day events in the world, and the only one in the Western Hemisphere. A ‘Four Star’ Eventing competition is the sport’s highest designation, which is given only to the Olympic Games, World Championships, and the six annual events around the world. The Kentucky event draws more than 80,000 spectators to the Kentucky Horse Park each year. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the 1978 World Three-Day Event Championships at the Kentucky Horse Park, which developed into the long-standing annual Kentucky Three-Day Event.
Special Events and Family Fun
In addition to the thrilling competition among the world’s best riders and horses, the LRK3DE features extensive shopping in the Sponsor Village and International Trade Fair with some 200 booths and tents. The event also features tailgating, Land Rover test drives, the Barley, Barrels, and Bluegrass Fundraising Dinner on Thursday evening, and the fourth annual Head Up Heels Down 5K race on Friday evening. Ticket buyers also receive general admission to the Kentucky Horse Park.
Grounds admission tickets (which are free for kids 12 and under) include general parking, admission to the Event as well as the Kentucky Horse Park, but do not include access to the competition in the Rolex Stadium on Thursday, Friday and Sunday. Reserved grandstand seating is sold separately from grounds admission. For a unique world-class Kentucky experience, special Ringside Hospitality packages are also available.