It was second place for France and Maxime Livio, with Land Rover Ambassador Zara Tindall (GBR) finishing in third place after a flawless clear round aboard High Kingdom.
Following Saturday’s tough cross-country ride, 39 horses headed into the final phase of the competition. The show jumping course set by Richard Jeffery’s, which featured a 2017 Range Rover Evoque Convertible and a 2017 Range Rover Sport, proved tricky for the field with only four competitors finishing clear within the time. Third-to-go, Zara Tindall, produced a stunning clear round aboard her 16-year-old bay High Kingdom, the echoes of cheers from the 25,000 spectators confirmed this and put the pressure on the final two competitors. Maxime Livio, who beat Michael Jung in Pau, France, last year, kept his cool to ride the fourth and final clear round of the day with his partner, Qalao Des Mers. The stadium fell silent as the formidable pairing of Germany’s Michael Jung and fischerRocana FST began their round, with a fence in hand, hoping to make history once again. Despite incurring four faults, the crowd erupted as Jung pumped his fist in the air celebrating a special moment in his career to claim the coveted Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event title for a historic third consecutive year.
Jung commented on his achievement:
“fischerRocana FST is a top horse, the mare fights so hard for me and our partnership is so strong. She gave me a very good feeling in the warm up ring which made me feel good entering the arena. I did not have enough power in the triple combination so I was little nervous with two jumps to go! I am so grateful for my team and really pleased with the result”.
Land Rover Ambassador, Zara Tindall, spoke of her third-place finish:
“I am so lucky to be here and I am very thankful to Land Rover and Rolex to have me back here, I wouldn’t be here without their support. My horse is fantastic, all through the competition he has been amazing, he owes me nothing and I have loved riding him this weekend. I have really enjoyed being here it as it is an amazing event to be a part of”.
Olympic bronze medallist, Phillip Dutton (USA), moved up the leader-board with his Irish Sport Horse gelding, Mr. Medicott, to not only take fourth place but also the USEF Championship Trophy awarded to the highest placed American rider, a prize presented to him for a record fifth year.
“It is particularly rewarding to finish as the top US rider,” said Dutton, who also celebrated his 40th Rolex Kentucky completion, “It has been a great event and it is the perfect way for Mr. Medicott to finish his four-star career.”
LAND ROVER BEST RIDE OF THE DAY
Saturday’s cross-country saw Erin Sylvester produce a thrilling round aboard her 13-year-old thoroughbred mare Mettraise to win the “Land Rover Best Ride of the Day” that rewards the top U.S. rider to complete the cross-country course closest to the optimum time without jumping penalties. Sylvester was presented with a 2017 Land Rover Discovery Sport 24-month lease by Helen McDonald, Events and Partnerships Manager, Jaguar Land Rover NA LLC. at the 2017 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event Presented by Land Rover.
The optimum time of 11 minutes and 17 seconds proved difficult for the horse and rider combinations with only five out of 57 starters finishing within the time set by renowned course designer Derek di Grazia. Despite accurate clear rounds from fellow U.S. team mates, Holly Payne Caravella and Matthew Brown, Sylvester demonstrated true perfection, finishing spot-on the optimum time of 11 minutes and 17 seconds, to win the Land Rover Discovery Sport 24-month lease.
“I was really pleased with Missy, this is her first four star! I didn’t go out with the aim to get closest to the optimum time but towards the end I realised I could do it. The conditions were perfect for her and she tried her heart out,” Sylvester commented on her result. “I am really happy with the ride today but I am especially excited to win the ‘Land Rover Best Ride of the Day’ and can’t wait to have my new Land Rover Discovery Sport at home”.
“Congratulations to Erin Sylvester and Mettraise for completing the challenging cross-country course in front of the packed crowds today and hitting the exact optimum time,” said Helen McDonald, Events and Partnerships Manager, Jaguar Land Rover NA LLC. “We were really pleased to present her with the keys to her new Land Rover Discovery Sport and wish her the best of luck for the show jumping tomorrow.”
The entry point into the Land Rover Discovery family, the Discovery Sport is a premium compact SUV that upholds the brand’s core values of capability and versatility. Its unique design provides seating for up to seven passengers while maintaining a compact exterior footprint. The Discovery Sport features a 2.0L turbocharged engine producing 240hp and 251 lb ft of torque, paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission and intelligent all-wheel drive for a refined combination of performance and refinement.
For any equestrian fans unable to attend the event, the NBC telecast of the Rolex Equestrian Championships presented by Land Rover will allow those to enjoy it from home on Sunday, May 7, from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. EST and NBCSN on Sunday, May 28, from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. EST.
View the highlights film HERE