Equestrianism: Townend all set after long-haul trip

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The Independent Online

British eventer Oliver Townend is a relieved man and happy just to be in Kentucky for his assault on the Rolex Grand Slam.

Townend enters the dressage arena today, firstly with ODT Master Rose and then later in the day aboard his new ride Ashdale Cruise Master. The 27-year-old Yorkshireman is bidding to win consecutive Badminton, Burghley and Kentucky four-star titles.

If Townend adds Kentucky to his portfolio, it will land him a £230,000 Grand Slam jackpot, plus £50,000 for winning the event. Only Pippa Funnell – in 2003 – has previously achieved it. And serious competitive business is about to begin after he defied Europe's air travel chaos by reaching Kentucky via Crewe, London, Paris, Madrid, Miami and Atlanta – a journey that included three flights and a marathon taxi trip.