British rider Oliver Townend (36), who is based near Ellesmere in Shropshire, is a former winner of Badminton (2009) and has completed the event 13 times. Last year he was second (Cooley SRS) and 5th with Ballaghmor Class with who, he won Burghley in 2017 – his second win of the event. Last year with Badminton entry Cooley Master Class he won the four-star at Lexington. One of the busiest riders on the circuit, he is currently ranked number 1 in the FEI World rankings and at the end of 2018 was the BE leading rider for the fifth consecutive year.
Oliver began riding when he was seven years old, inheriting his love of horses from his parents. His father, Alan, competed in three-day eventing, while mother, Eve, showed side-saddle at county level. His first success came in show jumping at HOYS when he was 11, and at 13 he went on to represent Britain on the pony eventing team at the European Championships. Oliver quickly moved through the ranks and for three years was stable jockey to British team trainer, the late Kenneth Clawson in Leicestershire before going solo.
Oliver’s good result at his first Badminton in 2005 with Topping earned them an individual place on the 2005 British European Championship squad at Blenheim. With Flint Curtis, Oliver came third at Badminton in 2006 and rode as an individual at the Aachen WEG in the same year. In 2007 he won a team gold medal in Pratoni del Vivaro.
In 2009 Oliver joined the elite group of riders who have won back-to-back Badminton and Burghley titles. That year he also won the HSBC FEI Classics title and at the end of the 2009 season was top of the BE rider rankings for the first time.
In 2014, with Black Tie, he was an individual member of the British Squad for the WEG in France but retired cross country. In 2015 he completed Burghley with three horses and with Fenyas Elegance represented GB at the European Championships at Blair Castle. In 2016 he became National Champion after winning the British Open at Gatcombe and in 2017 was a member of the British gold-medal winning British team at the European Championships at Strzegom (Cooley SRS).
Ballaghmor Class (aka Thomas) is a 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding. He is by Courage (also the sire of Ringwood Sky Boy, Cooley Rorkes Drift, Duke of Cavan) out of Kilderry Place. He has been ridden by Oliver since 2012 – Oliver won Burghley on him in 2017 and last year the pair was 5th at Badminton.
Cooley Master Class (aka Cooley) is a 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding. He is by the formerly British-based sire Ramiro B (also the sire of Cooley SRS) out of a mare by Master Imp. He has been ridden by Oliver since 2012 and has been a winner at one, two, three and four-star level. The pair won Lexington 2018.
Cillnabradden Evo (aka Gary) is a 13-year-old Irish Sport Horse. He is by S Crevagh Ferro out of a mare by King Henry. He was formerly produced by Lucy McCarthy, then ridden by Andrew Nicholson. Oliver took the ride at the end of 2015 and the pair then won the CCI2* at Osberton. The following year they won the British Open at Gatcombe. Has yet to complete at four-star.
Ulises is a 12-year-old Spanish bred gelding. Bred by former Spanish international rider Ramon Beca he is by the thoroughbred Fines (sire of Armada, Nereo) out of a mare by Un Amour IV. He was formerly ridden to three-star by Andrew Nicholson and Oliver took the ride at the beginning of 2016. In 2018 the pair won the CIC3* at Chatsworth and completed Blenheim. Badminton is the first for Ulises at the level.
MHS King Joules
16.2hh , bay , gelding
Breeder Ita Brennan
Owner(s): Tom Joules, Market Harborough, Leics.
Irish Sport Horse,
16.3hh , bay , gelding
Dam Celestial Rose (Tulla Flight)
Breeder Sean Grier
Kathleen Wilkinson, Thirsk, N. Yorks.,
Rachel Wood, Alnwick, Northumberland
Samuel Thomas II
16.2hh , bay , gelding
Dam Barnard Que (Arctic Qur)
Komfi Ltd, Huddersfield, W. Yorks.
Sue Chadwick, Huddersfield, W. Yorks.