Russia’s Inessa Merkulova & Mister X Capture Minsk World Cup in 4th Straight Qualifier Victory

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Mister X ridden by Inessa Merkulova. File photo © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Mister X ridden by Inessa Merkulova. File photo © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

MINSK, Belarus, Oct. 11, 2015–Inessa Merkulova and Mister X, Russia’s top ranked partnership, captured the World Cup Grand Prix Freestyle with a personal best score Sunday for the fourth straight victory in qualifying competitions for the individual global championship Final next March.

Inessa and the 11-year-old Russian-bred Trakehner gelding scored 81.375 per cent for the win that earned the pair 20 points and brought their season’s four-event total to 80 points and the top of the World Cup’s Central European League standings. Their result was only the second CDI Freestyle score above 80 per cent, the previous best being 80.425 per cent four months ago.

Fellow Russian Tatiana Dorofeeva on Kartsevo Upperville placed second on 71.875 per cent and remained in second place in the standings for the league that gets to send two riders to the World Cup Final in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Inessa on Avans, a 10-year-old Russian-bred stallion, also placed third on 71.300 per cent in their debut CDI Big Tour competition.

The Minsk competition was one of two World Cup qualifiers in Central Europe this weekend, the other being in Lithuania for the first time.

With her 80 points and nine of the 10 events completed on the CEL calendar for the 2015/16 season, Inessa and Mister X ranked 19th in the world have an insurmountable lead in Central Europe to get one of the two invitations to Sweden.

The pair began their Grand Prix career just over two years ago and since then have competed on the Russian team at the World Games in Normandy last year and the European Championships in August.

The duo was also at World Cup Finals in Lyon, France in 2014 and in Las Vegas last April where they were fan favorites for their flamboyant style.

The last event on this season’s CEL calendar is at Kaposvár, Hungary next weekend.