Stats: age 27, Dudleston Heath, Ellesmere, Shropshire, England.
Ashdale Cruise Master: gr. g., 17.1 hands, 11 years, British-bred Irish Sport Horse (Cruising—Slys Girl), owned by Henry and Edna Harding, Ash Road, Dudleston Heath, Ellesmere, Shropshire, England.
Last year, with rider Emily Gilruth in the tack, the horse placed fifth at the Bramham CCI*** (England), 14th in the Gatcombe CIC***-W (England) and 26th at the Land Rover Burghley CCI**** (England). This year, Townend rode Ashdale Cruise Master to first place in the Burnham Market International CIC*** (England).
Jimmy’s Prediction: This is a new ride for Oli, but Cruise Master galloped easily around Burghley last fall with another rider. Oli took no time in forming a partnership and won his final preparatory event before stepping on the plane for the Horse Park. I think Ashdale Cruise Master is my next pick to win, thereby securing the Rolex Grand Slam for his rider.
ODT Master Rose: b. g., 16.2 hands, 10 years, Irish-bred Irish Sport Horse (Master Imp—Skyrose), owned by Stephen and Victoria Hazeldine, Whixley York, North Yorkshire, England.
In 2008, they placed 15th in the Boekelo CCI*** (the Netherlands). Last year, they took fifth in the Hartpury CIC*** (England) and the Boekelo CCI***, and they were third at the Blenheim CIC*** (England). This year, they placed eighth at the Burnham Market International CIC*** (England).
Jimmy’s Prediction: This is a nice young horse that Oli’s bringing over. However, he’s still missing a few minor pieces of the puzzle, and I expect that to be enough to keep him from placing in the top 10 this weekend.