Totilas Sets New Freestyle Record of 92% to Top Olympia World Cup Event

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Moorlands Totilas and Edward Gal at Olympia.

LONDON, Dec. 16–Moorlands Totilas ridden by Edward Gal set a new world Grand Prix Freestyle record of 92.300 per cent Wednesday night to claim the World Cup qualifier at the Olympia International Horse Show.

In an event before a full house and televised live by the BBC in prime time, the Dutch combination shattered the previous record of 90.75 per cent that they had created at the European Championships in Windsor just 20 miles (32km) away in August.

The black stallion performed in his last competition as a nine-year-old as he will automatically turn 10 years old on Jan. 1. Edward and Totilas became the top ranked dressage combination in the world this month, so will enter 2010 as No. 1.

Edward Gal OK

Totilas and Edward finished a staggering more than 11 percentage points higher than second place. Their score was the third time this year they have set new world records in the freestyle and all of them in England–first at Hickstead in July, then at Windsor and now in London. They smashed the previous record of 87.93 per cent set by Anky van Grunsven on Salinero in March, 2006.

Adelinde Cornelissen and Parzival, a KWPN 12-year-old chestnut gelding by Jazz, scored 81.950 per cent to finish second, as they did in Tuesday night’s Grand Prix with a mark of 81.277 per cent.

Adelinde Cornelissen and Parzival

Adelinde Cornelissen and Parzival

The hometown crowd was treated to stand out performances by British horse and rider combinations filling third, fourth and fifth places.

Carl Hester on Liebling II, a 12-year-old Holsteiner gelding and his European Championship team silver medal mount, led the British performers to finish third on 78.450 per cent, which was the highest score ever posted by the pair as was their Grand Prix score Tuesday.

Great Britain’s European Championship superstar, Laura Bechtolsheimer, on Andretti H, a 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding, placed fourth on 77.410 per cent while Richard Davison and the rapidly developing Hiscox Artemis, a 10-year-old Westphalen gelding, finished fifth at 75.150 per cent.

The USA’s Catherine Haddad, based in Germany, finished in sixth place on 73.600 per cent on Cadillac,

A full house witnessed the 39-year-old rider and the Grubaldi stallion produce an immaculate and dramatic foot-perfect test of seamless transitions, rhythmic elastic gaits and off the floor paces.

“It felt like a fairytale – all I have to do is to point the way and he does it,” said Edward who maintains that Totilas is just a normal horse. “He is so easy going and hopefully he will stay that way but I do think he enjoys the attention.”

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British judge Stephen Clarke presided over the ground jury.

“At Windsor we thought we were so lucky to witness that level of dressage and tonight it was simply amazing to see that they could produce even better,” he said.

Parzival, who won here in 2008, was not so settled Wednesday night and at times became spooky producing a difficult ride at times for Adelinde.

“Last night he felt really good and tonight was not the easiest but I never play for second and at least I was able to carry on riding him which wouldn’t have happened that long ago,” she said.

Stephen Clarke and the judges were full of praise for the level of dressage produced at Olympia.

“These riders have brought the sport to a level we have never seen before and we should congratulate them – you don’t need to be an expert to see what they are doing is brilliant,” he said.

Olympia was the fourth of nine World Cup qualifying events in the West European League leading to the final in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands, in mid-March. The fifth event will be later this weekend in Frankfurt, Germany.

FEI WORLD CUP™ DRESSAGE – STANDINGS AFTER FOURTH LEG AT OLYMPIA, LONDON:
1.    Adelinde Cornelissen, Edward Gal    –    35
3.    Anky Van Grunsven                              –    34
4.    Matthias Alexander Rath                     –    27
5.    Jeanette Haazen, Aat Van Essen, Monica Theodorescu-    24
8.    Hubertus Schmidt                                 –    23
9.    Tinne Vilhelmson                                  –    20
10.    Hans Peter Minderhoud, Peter Gmoser   –    19

Grand Prix Freestyle Results:

Current Ranking after 13 Competitors
1. Moorlands Totilas Edward Gal NED 92.300 points
2. Parzival Adelinde Cornelissen NED 82.050 points
3. Liebling II Carl Hester GBR 78.450 points
4. Andretti H Laura Bechtolsheimer GBR 77.350 points
5. Hiscox Artemis Richard Davison GBR 75.150 points
6. Cadillac Catherine Haddad USA 73.600 points
7. Apollo van het Vijverhof Jeroen Devroe BEL 72.250 points
8. Ovation Christa Laarakkers NED 72.200 points
9. Louis D’Or Henriette Andersen GBR 70.200 points
10. Mr President Stephanie Croxford GBR 69.700 points
11. Whitni Star Marc Boblet FRA 69.650 points
12. Fitzcerraldo Judith Harvey GBR 69.000 points
13. Exquis Clearwater Anne van Olst DEN 67.850 points