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Nicholson back to defend Kentucky 3DE title

Andrew Nicholson and Quimbo.

2013 RK3DE winners Andrew Nicholson and Quimbo. © Libby Law/ESNZ

Defending champion Andrew Nicholson is heading back to the US for the 2014 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, with last year’s winner Quimbo and stablemate Avebury.

They are among record entries this year, with 82 horses down to start at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington from April 24 to 27.

World-ranked number one Nicholson is joined by the second and third riders in the FEI rankings, two-time RK3DE winner William Fox-Pitt, who was second last year on Seacookie TSF, and Buck Davidson, who was fourth last year on Ballynoe Castle RM. He won the Rolex USEF Four Star Championship and USET Foundation Pinnacle Cup as the highest placed American rider while also winning the Land Rover Best Ride of the Day for being the US rider finishing closest to the optimum time on cross country.

Nicholson’s Calico Joe, who was third last year, is not among the entries. But the long-time Kiwi team stalwart will be joined by Olympic teammate Mark Todd, who will ride Oloa in Kentucky.

In all, riders from seven countries have filed entries including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Great Britain, Netherlands, New Zealand, and the United States. Included is an impressive list of Olympic veterans and past Rolex Kentucky Champions who have their sights set on the coveted Rolex Kentucky title, especially as this year’s event will serve as a Selection Trial for the 2014 FEI World Equestrian Games.

“As always, this year’s Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event has an impressive field of world-class horses and riders,” said Darren Ripley, President of Equestrian Events, Inc. (EEI), producer of the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event. “While the number of horses that will ultimately compete is sure to be a little less than this, it is very exciting that the best riders from around the world have submitted this record number of entries.”

The event features a prize pool of $250,000 in prize money 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.

And for the first time, there will be a team challenge, with The Dubarry of Ireland Nations Team Challenge awarding $20,000 in prize money, while helping national teams prepare for the team competition at the 2014 World Equestrian Games this summer. The winning nation will be the nation with the fewest penalties after adding together the final scores of the three highest placed individuals from that nation.

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