Fayette County

'Bashed and bruised' Townend out of Rolex, Grand Slam

Top British rider Oliver Townend's Grand Slam dream has come to a crashing halt. Townend withdrew from competition Sunday morning at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event after spending Saturday night at University of Kentucky Hospital.

According to statements from Townend's publicist, he sustained cracks to his collar bone, chest bone and ribs in a fall Saturday afternoon on Ashdale Cruise Master at The Hollow.

"Sadly, this means that Oliver will take no further part in the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event," according to the statement.

Townend did not have a head injury, as previously reported.

"I feel a bit bashed and bruised, but my spirits are good. I will fly home tonight and hopefully get a good rest on the plane. At least the trip home should be easier than the journey here," Townend said in a statement. "I want to get well quickly and start riding again as soon as possible."

He was released from the hospital Sunday morning but his remaining horse, ODT Master Rose, who was in seventh place, was not presented for vet inspection, so the pair were officially out of the running for the Grand Slam and the $350,000 prize that goes to the winner of Badminton, Burghley and Rolex Kentucky.

In his quest for the Grand Slam, he had a marathon 51-hour journey to Kentucky because of cloud of volcanic ash. He conquered a French transit strike by taking a $2,500 taxi ride from Paris to Madrid.

But a 3-foot, 11-inch rail on the edge of the Kentucky Horse Park brought him down.

"It's a tough sport and these things happen. I was very fit going into Kentucky, and the physical strengthening work I did helped me take such a hard fall without serious damage," Townend said.

"I have to be grateful for my Point Two Air inflatable air bag jacket and Champion riding hat. They both saved me from suffering more serious injuries."

The popular Yorkshire man also said he was grateful to fans for their concerns.

"I'd like to thank all those who have supported me while I've been in Kentucky and everyone who has been sending me messages on Facebook."

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