With the first horse inspection at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event just one week away, the number of starters has dropped from 60 at the closing date to 53 appearing on the most current entry list.
Seemingly endless rain in England and Ireland has taken a toll, with numerous event abandonments leading to a dearth of critical prep runs for combinations aiming at spring four-stars.
William Fox-Pitt withdrew Fernhill Pimms due to a lack of prep runs, as did Sam Watson with Horseware Ardagh Highlight.
Injuries have also sidelined a number of combinations. Vandiver, a hot favorite for Kentucky after his win at the Carolina International CIC3*, had a joint flushed in his right hind leg following his withdrawal from The Fork. Doug Payne is now tentatively aiming the horse for Bromont CCI3* instead.
Rachel McDonough has also withdrawn Irish Rhythm. Sally Cousins‘ stalwart mare Tsunami has also been withdrawn.
Lauren Kieffer and Veronica and Will Coleman and OBOS O’Reilly are still appearing on the Kentucky entry list, but both horses will contest the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials.
While we initially had five U.S. combinations entered for Badminton, Katie Ruppel and Houdini and Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Cubalawn, who were also cross-entered at Kentucky, have since withdrawn from both events.
Removing Longwood, Veronica and OBOS O’Reilly from the Kentucky entry list brings the total down to 50 expected starters.
That number is likely to change further still. Oliver Townend has three horses on the entry list, but he is widely expected to compete two, with the other staying in England to compete at Badminton.
Caroline Martin has three horses entered but only two will start cross country. If Pebbly Maximus presents at the trot up next week, he will only contest the dressage phase before going on to England for the Bramham CCI3*-Under 25.
Keep checking back for more Kentucky news as we count down to the Best Weekend All Year. Go Eventing.