Inessa Merkulova & Mister X Take Grand Prix Freestyle at Controversy-Shrouded Moscow CDI3*

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Inessa Merkulova and Mister X. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Inessa Merkulova and Mister X. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

MOSCOW, Feb. 28, 2016–Inessa Merkulova on Mister X won the Grand Prix Freestyle Sunday at the CDI3* that has become embroiled in a judging controversy.

Inessa and the 12-year-old Russian-bred Trakehner scored 83.150 per cent with fellow Russian Marina Aframeeva on Vosk, also owned by Inessa, in second on 78.430 per cent. Regina Isachkina on Rubino Royal was third on 70.50 per cent.

The FEI, International Equestrian Federation, Dressage Committee meets in Jerez, Spain Monday and Tuesday to consider the Grand Prix results that gave Inessa and Mister X 82.240 per cent and Marina and Vosk 76.780 per cent, both personal best scores by big margins.

Ghislain Fouarge of the Netherlands, a member of the five-member ground jury, is reported to give regular clinics in Russia. A photo on the Internet site of New Century equestrian center dated Oct. 22-24, 2015 shows the judge appearing to give instructions to Inessa on Mister X. FEI rules prohibit a judge who has taught a rider three times within nine months of a CDI competition from judging that pair.

Inessa and Avans won the Grand Prix Special with a score of 69.020 per cent.

Inessa and Mister X top the Olympic rankings and are assured of a start at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro this summer.

However, the scores for Marina and Vosk move them up the rankings enough to earn a second individual Olympic spot for Russia and thus impact the ranking of riders from several other nations.

Olympic qualifying ends in seven days, Mar. 6.

Results:

Moscow CDI3* Grand Prix Freestyle

Moscow CDI3* Grand Prix Special