Will Michael Jung win Rolex Kentucky again?
Michael Jung returns to defend his title in 2017 but only on one horse
Olympic Gold and Silver medallist Michael Jung of Germany, the two-time defending Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event champion and winner of the 2016 Rolex Grand Slam, heads the list of top riders, including Olympic, World and European champions, entered for the 2017 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, Presented by Land Rover from April 27-30.
The Kentucky Horse Park will welcome a star-studded list of competitors, with some riders entered with up to three horses, who will vie for top honours. The entry list includes 69 riders representing 9 countries: Australia, Canada, France, Great Britain, Germany, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand and the United States. The top names joining Jung for this year's event include Zara (Phillips) Tindall, Joe Meyer and Tim Price of New Zealand, Jessica Phoenix of Canada, and U.S. Olympic veterans Phillip Dutton, Boyd Martin, Kim Severson, Lauren Kieffer, Will Coleman and Clark Montgomery to name a few.
"This year's field of competitors includes some of the biggest names in the sport. These are equestrian stars you won't see at any other competition on American soil," said Lee Carter, Executive Director of Equestrian Events, Inc., producer of the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event. "With another increase in prize money this year, we continue to attract the world's best riders and horses, and we guarantee another week of extraordinary equestrian competition"
At stake is $400,000 in prize money, a $50,000 increase from last year, as well as a shot at the $350,000 Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing, which is awarded to any rider who wins the Rolex Kentucky, Mitsubishi Motors Badminton and Land Rover Burghley 'Four Star' Events in succession. Last year, Jung became only the second rider (along with Pippa Funnell in 2003) ever to win the Grand Slam.
Defending Champion Jung has entered FischerRocana FST, his 2016 Rolex Kentucky winning partner with whom he also won the Team Gold and Individual Silver medals with at the 2014 FEI World Equestrian Games™ (WEG). He was also to have competed on his 2015 European gold champion FischerTakinou but a small injury incurred at their final preparation event last weekend has resulted in the decision not to fly him to Kentucky
Among those entered to compete in this year's Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event are:
- Defending Champion and Double Olympic Gold medalist Michael Jung of Germany is seeking his third consecutive "Rolex Kentucky" title as well as a leg of the Rolex Grand Slam.
- Zara Tindall will be making a second attempt at "Rolex Kentucky" and has entered High Kingdom, the horse on whom she won a Team Silver medal for Great Britain at the 2012 London Olympic Games and the 2014 WEG. She also won the Individual Gold and Team Silver medals at the 2006 WEG.
- Phillip Dutton of the U.S.A., a six-time Olympic veteran with two Team Gold medals (2000, 1996) for his native Australia, a Team bronze (2004) and Individual Bronze (2016) for the U.S.A. He's a six-time WEG veteran, the 2008 Rolex Kentucky Champion, as well as a two-time Pan American Games Team gold medallist (2015, 2007) and Individual silver medallist (2007).
- Boyd Martin of the U.S.A., a 2012 and 2016 Olympic veteran and two-time WEG competitor (2014, 2010). Team Gold medallist at the 2015 Pan American Games.
- Kim Severson of the U.S.A., Olympic veteran winning Individual silver and Team bronze medals (2004) and three-time Rolex Kentucky champion (2005, 2004, 2002). WEG Team gold medallist (2002).
- William Coleman of the U.S.A., 2012 Olympic veteran.
- Clark Montgomery of the U.S.A, 2016 Olympic veteran.
- Lauren Kieffer of the U.S.A., Olympic veteran (2016), Team gold medallist at the 2015 Pan American Games. Winner of the USEF Four Star Championship at Rolex Kentucky (2014, 2016)
- Buck Davidson of the U.S.A., WEG veteran (2014, 2010). Two-time U.S. Olympic Team Alternate (2012, 2008). Winner of the USEF Four Star Championship at Rolex Kentucky (2013).
- Jessica Phoenix of Canada, an Olympic and WEG veteran as well as Pan American Games Gold medallist (2011), silver (2015, 2011) and Team bronze (2015).
- Joe Meyer of New Zealand, Olympic veteran (2008) and WEG competitor (2006).
- Tim Price of New Zealand, WEG veteran (2014). Placed second to Jung at both Rolex Kentucky and Burghley in 2015.
In addition to these veterans of international competition, many more of the sport's leading riders from the U.S. and abroad are entered to compete. The full list of entries is available on line at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event website at www.rk3de.org/entry-list.
The Dubarry of Ireland Nations Team Challenge will be featured again this year, awarding $20,000 in prize money. There will be four riders per national team, and the teams will be determined by FEI ranking. Combination teams are possible where there are countries with fewer than 4 entries.