Last World Cup Event In California This Week for Final in Las Vegas
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Mar. 17, 2015
By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
The last World Cup qualifier is scheduled for California this weekend that will decide the North Americans to ride in the Reem Acra FEI Final in Las Vegas in four weeks and decide other combinations to join 12 riders tentatively lined up for the global championship being held in the United States for the first time in six years.
Steffen Peters on Legolas is highly favored to qualify at San Juan Capistrano to join Laura Graves and Verdades to fill the two places set aside for North America.
The reigning U.S. championship pair, in their first qualifier for this season in California last month posted the highest Freestyle result in North America in three years. At that tine, Steffen scored 83.700 per cent in Florida on Ravel, the horse on whom he won the World Cup Final in Las Vegas in 2009.
With qualifying everywhere else in the world already completed, the likely riders from Western and Central Europe to go to Las Vegas are Edward Gal, Danielle Heijkoop and Hans Peter Minderhoud of the Netherlands; Jessica von Bredow-Werndl, Fabienne Lütkemeier and Isabell Werth of Germany; Agnete Kirk Thinggaard of Denmark; Morgan Barbançon Mestre of Spain; Paulinda Friberg of Sweden; Elena Sidneva and Tatiana Dorofeeva of Russia and Charlotte Dujardin of Great Britain who will defend the title she won on Valegro in 2014.
Two Australian riders. Heath Ryan and Mary Hanna, who had qualified for the Final have confirmed they will not go to Las Vegas .
As up to 18 riders and horses can start in the World Cup Final, the addition of two North American combinations and the 12 from Western and Central Europe leave up to four additional starting places.
Lars Petersen, the Forida-based Danish Olympian currently second in the North American standings and ranked 27th in the world, is among the most likely to fill one of the slots under new rules that take into account world rankings to determine the method of filling additional places.
America’s Lisa Wilcox of Wellington, Florida currently stands third in the North American League and is hoping for a wild card invitation to Las Vegas.
Challenging for a possible start in Las Vegas are fellow Californians Jan Ebeling on FRH Rassolini and Günter Seidel on Zero Gravity.