Twenty years, 100 five-stars for Oliver

Ask anyone involved in the sport what it takes to get one horse, to one five-star. The training, the team, the time, the trust. Oliver Townend is about to participate in his 100th five-star, 20 years on from the first. It is a huge achievement for the FEI World number one, his team at home and his owners. He joins Fox-Pitt and Nicholson as the only people to reach the milestone.

By Diarm Byrne / @diarmbyrne

April 25, 2024

Oliver Townend Ballaghmor Class
Oliver Townend Riding Ballaghmor Class

The main man is in town

There is always a buzz at Kentucky when Oliver is here. The world number one (it was his first victory here that landed him that badge and but for the odd-month here and there, it has been a title he has dominated for 5 years. He is a three-time winner here and this venue has become a key part of his career. 2024 will be no different – having won Burghley already, and with more firepower waiting in the wings for Badminton in a couple of weeks – a chance to win the Grand Slam of Eventing will rest on whether he can guide the 10yo superstar Cooley Rosalent to victory here. She has gone close to winning a CCI5* already when they had uncharacteristic second rail at Maryland to hand the victory to Ireland’s Austin O’Connor.

Consistently delivering at the top level

Oliver is a winner. His first five-star win came at Badminton in 2009 with Flint Curtis and then he quickly backed that up with a Burghley win later the same year. He is now a 7 time winner at the level, with three Kentucky wins and three Burghley wins adding to that first Badminton win. He has had seven podiums at Badminton – more than any other venue.

Screenshot 2024 04 23 130914


The Big-Hitter Horse - Ballaghmor Class

There are lots of opinions I guess about who the top one is but the correct answer is surely the horse with the most runs, the most wins and the podiums. Ballaghmor Class has 11 runs, 3 wins and 7 podiums. Next we have Armada who delivered 9 runs. This horse is also the all-time top rated British horse on our system, with an Elo of 864 and number 6 on the all-time, all-nations list.

All Time Elo

The top-rated five star performances

HPR, High Performance Rating, is a tool we use to help managers who face the situation that ‘not all five-stars are equal. They aren’t even equal year-to-year. Look at the rating for winning Burghley last year – it is lower that the podium in 2019.

Top Rated Results

Kentucky with Cooley Rosalent

They have a big chance. Imagine winning the thing on your 100th run – further pushing your #1 dominance, deepening the selection headache for Team GB and setting up a grand slam story for Badminton. Here’s to the next 100 Oliver!



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