Gal & Totilas Win Amsterdam World Cup Qualifier, Bechtolsheimer 2nd
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AMSTERDAM, Jan. 23–Moorlands Totilas ridden by Edward Gal easily won the World Cup qualifying Grand Prix Freestyle Saturday and shot to the top of the series leaderboard, but the other top placegetters surprised the sport’s longtime champions, Anky van Grunsven and Isabell Werth.
The victory by the 10-year-old Gribaldi black stallion, extending his string of wins at Grand Prix since coming second in the Grand Prix Special at the European Championships last August, scored 87.000 per cent.
Great Britain’s Laura Bechtolsheimer on Mistral Hojris who had placed second in the Grand Prix, also was runnerup in the freestyle with a score of 82.300 per cent before a capacity crowd of 6,000.
The Netherlands’ Imke Schellekens-Bartels and Hunter Douglas Sunrise who have enjoyed success in this winter’s World Cup West European League, were third on 82.050 per cent and shared the leaderboard top spot with Edward and Totilas.
Anky van Grunsven on IPS Painted Black was fourth with 81.200 per cent and Isabell Werth and Warum Nicht FRH fifth on 79.800 percent. The Dutch and German riders are shipping their top horses, Salinero and Satchmo, to the U.S. to compete in the Exquis World Dressage Masters in Palm Beach Feb. 4-6.
The Dutch combination of Hans Peter Minderhoud on Exquis Nadine held the lead going into the second-half of the competition. Hans Peter and 15-year-old chestnut mare received a mark of 76.70 per cent that was good enough for sixth place.
In her second competition since returning after Christmas from a six-month break to have a baby Isabell Werth and Warum Nicht performed excellent pirouettes and canter-changes but there was a loss of rhythm several times for her score of 79.80 per cent.
Next to go, was Laura Bechtolsheimer and the chestnut gelding Mistral Hojris whose confidence and character have grown enormously since claiming team silver and individual bronze for Great Britain at the Alltech FEI European Dressage Championships in Windsor last summer. They showed exuberant half-pass, piaffe and extended trot while Bechtolsheimer’s ear for her musical score ensured their timing was impeccable. They took the lead with 82.30 per cent.
But Moorlands Totilas had the edge once again, although his rider has clearly learned the weight of the expectations now placed upon his shoulders. Every time this partnership go in the ring now they are expected to break yet another world record, which is not altogether surprising since they have done so three times over the past 12 months.
“Totilas felt a bit tense today,” Edward said afterward, “but he is an amazing horse to ride and he exceeds my expectations time and time again. I want to ride better next time.”
But “people have high expectations. When I was in Stuttgart I scored 79 per cent and I was receiving text messages in which people were asking me, ‘Oh, didn’t it go well?’ and I would be like, ‘Well, yes it did, but I can’t score really high every time.'”
Second-last to go was van Grunsven who has lived for a long time the situation her former student, Edward, now finds himself in. Dubbed the Queen of the Freestyle and the reigning individual Olympic champion, the arrival of a whole new generation of contenders has changed everything.
She demonstrated her determination to remain in the elite with a great test from Painted Black which slotted her into fourth behind last-to-go team mate Schellekens-Bartels.
“I felt that my ride was very fluid and it went very well,” Imke said. “My horse does not have the same movement as Totilas but she has amazing charisma and charm which is something I think shines through.”
The qualifier was the seventh of nine in the West European League for the Final that will be held in ‘s-Hertogenbosh, the Netherlands, Mar. 25-28. The two remaining qualifiers are Neumunster, Germany Feb. 20-21 and Goteborg, Sweden Feb. 26-27.
2009/2010 FEI WORLD CUP™ DRESSAGE – STANDINGS
after Round 7 at Amsterdam (Provisional)
1, Edward Gal, Imke Schellekens-Bartels – 55
3. Jeannette Haazen – 48
4. Anky Van Grunsven – 47
5. Adelinde Cornelissen, Monica Theodorescu – 41
7. Aat Van Essen – 38
8. Patrik Kittel – 36
9. Mathias Alexander Rath – 35
10. Laura Bechtolsheimer – 32
|FEI World Cup Qualifier presented by BMC
FEI Grand Prix Freestyle Test (edition 2009)
FEI Art. 422.3.6 and 422.6
Saturday, January 23rd 2010 Class: D2