Hazel Shannon to ride Cooley SRS

        Oliver Townend and Cooley SRS at Badminton 2018 where they finished second



Oliver Townend’s 11-year-old gelding Cooley SRS, the runner-up at Badminton 2018, will be heading Down Under early in 2019 to join his new rider, Hazel Shannon

Thanks to the ongoing support of Australian businessman Terry Snow and his wife Ginette, Cooley SRS will join Hazel’s double 4* winner Willinga Park Clifford in her stable when he is brought to Australia in February

“It feels surreal” admits Hazel, who flew to the UK a few weeks to look at horses with Terry and chose Cooley SRS

“He’s a very nice horse, really well trained and has a great competition record. Obviously, he’s been campaigned by a top class rider which helps but when you look at a record like that, you know that he has the ability to do it”

It is slightly nerve wracking for Hazel who has won the CCI4* at the Australian International 3 Day Event twice but has only ever competed horses that she has produced herself

“We won’t be rushing it. It’s going to take some time to build a partnership and, although I loved Cooley SRS when I tried him, I don’t really know what to expect when I start riding him here. We’ll see how he settles in before making a plan for the season and go from there – it’s going to be a very different experience for me as I’ve produced all of my horses from them being very young”

The long term plan of course is Tokyo 2020 and Hazel’s team looked carefully at the type of horse they wanted to buy with major championships in mind

“The changes in the scoring system have increased the focus on the show jumping phase. We obviously wanted a great cross country horse but also a really careful show jumper and we prioritised that when looking at potential horses”


       Hazel and Willinga Park Clifford on their way to a second win of the CCI4* in Adelaide


This is the second time that Terry Snow, the executive chairman of Capital Airport Group, which operates Canberra Airport has come to Hazel’s aid. The first time was to keep her ride on Clifford after their first win of the CCI4* at the Australian International 3 Day Event in 2016.

“It was such a huge thing for me to keep Clifford” says Hazel “I was getting really desperate and never thought that someone like this would step in and help me – even though I’d won in Adelaide, I still wasn’t a really big name and when Terry came along and bought Clifford, it was massive”

“Terry came to look at the horses overseas recently (he was also buying dressage horses for Australia’s Brett Parbery), he has a real interest and is very supportive – sometimes we have to slow him down a bit, he’s so enthusiastic!”

While it is an exciting time for Hazel and the team at Willinga Park, it will be a time for farewells at Oliver Townend’s stable in Cheshire when Cooley SRS boards his plane for Australia

“It was a big decision to sell Cooley SRS” says Oliver “It’s very sad to see a top class horse, particularly one that finished runner up in his first 4* at Badminton this year, leave the yard and Britain - but, at the same time, his sale enables (owner) Angela Hislop to invest in another future star”

“I’m extremely happy for Terry Snow, who is a huge supporter of equestrianism. I hope that Cooley SRS will bring as much pleasure to Terry and his new rider, Hazel Shannon, as he has done to both myself and Angela, and I wish them every success.”

Hazel recently became the first person to win the CCI4* at the Australian International 3 Day Event twice on the same horse so, although Cooley SRS will be the new star in the stable, there is no doubt for Hazel that “Clifford will always be the special one”