Top 3 finish for Oliver Townend and As Is in Maryland 5*

Olympic veterans and first-time 5 Star horses from three countries were the ones to beat for the show jumping finale of the 2022 MARS Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill presented by Brown Advisory. In the end, World #1 Tim Price (NZL) jumped clear aboard Jean-Louis Stauffer’s 10-year-old Selle Français stallion Coup De Coeur Dudevinto take top honors, finishing on a score of 28.2.

Like Price, second-place finisher Tamie Smith (USA) added only time faults to her score aboard Ruth Bley’s 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding Danito, but her final score of 29.8 kept them just 0.1 ahead of World #3 Oliver Townend (GBR). Townend finished in third place with his dressage score of 29.9, riding John Peace’s 11-year-old Spanish gelding As Is through one of only five double-clear rounds on Sunday.

The MARS Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill presented by Brown Advisory, one of only two 5 Star level equestrian events of its kind in the United States and just the seventh worldwide, returned to the Fair Hill Special Event Zone in Cecil County, MD, for its thrilling second edition October 13-16.

Course designer Ken Krome (USA) presented the MARS Maryland 5 Star competitors with a difficult 16-effort, 1.30m track, but Price, Smith and Townend’s rookie horses answered all the questions to land them on the podium.

Not far behind them were Americans Phillip Dutton and Jennie Brannigan, who rounded out the top five with their double-clear show jumping rounds. Dutton piloted his Tokyo Olympic partner Z into fourth place with their dressage score of 30.5; Brannigan moved into fifth place on her dressage score of 31.5 aboard Nina and Tim Gardner’s FE Lifestyle.

“I’m very proud of Coup De Coeur Dudevin,” Price said. “In fact, I think all three of these top horses are incredible. It’s exciting for the sport, it’s exciting for us personally, and it’s just so unexpected to have a top result like this. I came in hoping that I would have a top-five finish with this horse, but I expected there would be a couple of things that showed his lack of experience. Luckily, we were able to do that while keeping a nice, low score. I thought he did quite well.

“For my round, there was a lot of pressure,” he added. “But you just stay focused on the job. To build up the rhythm before the start was the most important part of it. Then I just tried to give him a good ride and stick to the plan. If I had to execute Plan B, I had to do it quickly and do it well. He’s got a really long stride, which was more evident today than in some of the other show jumping rounds I’ve had, but he really turned himself inside-out for me. He really impressed me, and I’m very excited about him.”

A person riding a horse

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World #3 Oliver Townend (GBR) and As Is finished third in the CCI5*-L (image, Shannon Brinkman Photography)
“I’m obviously delighted with him,” Townend said. “He belongs to my new job at Caunton with the Peace family. It’s the first time I’ve had a job since I was 21, so delivering these results to the people employing me for the first time this year is really special to me. It’s been a different year for me with so many people behind the scenes at Caunton, but one that’s been so, so positive.
“As Is was purchased earlier this year, and for us to deliver the result that we thought he was capable of is incredible,” he continued. “You never know with a new horse and a 5 star; anything can happen. He went out a bit green yesterday, and I thought last night, ‘Let’s just hope he’s as careful in the show jumping, and we’ll be alright.’ To know that I was on such a good jumper, it came down to me to press the right buttons and get the right distances. It’s just hugely exciting that we have a horse of this caliber.”
Each of the top three finishers rode rookie horses in the CCI5*-L (image, Shannon Brinkman Photography)
“Thank you to all of our sponsors for making this event possible, especially MARS Equestrian™ and Brown Advisory for stepping up as our Title and Presenting Sponsors,” said Jeff Newman, President & CEO of the Maryland 5 Star Committee. “Thank you to the FEI riders and officials for coming from around the world to put this event together, to the staff and volunteers who worked tirelessly to get it off the ground, and to all the fans who gave us some amazing support this year. We’ve had a spectacular second event, and we hope everyone comes out to Fair Hill and Cecil County for years and years to come.”
Words courtesy of MARS Maryland 5 Star

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