Kristy Oatley Back On Top of World Cup Western European Rankings After Salzburg Freestyle

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Kristy Otaley and Du Soleil. © 2016 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Kristy Otaley and Du Soleil. © 2016 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

SALZBURG, Austria, Dec. 11, 2016–Kristy Oatley rode Du Soleil, her Olympic mount, to a personal best Grand Prix Freestyle score Sunday to place the Australian at the top of the World Cup Western European League standings for the second time this season.

The German-based Kristy and the 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding that she has competed at Big Tour for 14 months scored 76.998 per cent to finish sixth at the Amadeus World Cup musical event and give the rider a total of 44 points on the road to the World Cup Final in Omaha in America’s Midwest Mar. 27-April 2.

The total so far puts the duo at the top of the standings after four of the nine qualifying shows in Western Europe. The points come from a victory in Central Europe to earn 20 points that can be carried over to Western Europe, a fourth place finish in Odense, Denmark in October and Sunday’s freestyle here.

“Düse,” as she calls Du Soleil, produced Sunday’s result after the horse had a fright on the way to the arena for the Grand Prix and took the tension into the ride.

“Today we were back on track and he was amazing,” she said, “the best feeling so far.”

Düse will have a Christmas break before Kristy decides which of the remaining four WEL competitions to enter. Riders in the WEG can compete in six qualifiers with the best four results counting.

The result for Kristy, a 37-year-old mother and four-time Olympian for Australia who lives in the Hamburg area of Germany, was not only a personal best on Du Soleil but also the second highest freestyle score ever by an Australian. She also has the highest, 77.650 per cent on Quando Quando at Braunschweig, Germany in 2008.

Lyndal Oatley, her cousin and two-time Olympian also based in Germany with her Swedish Olympic team husband Patrik Kittel, had held the second spot with 76.525 per cent on Sandro Boy in Kaposvár, Hungary in 2012. Lyndal and the 15-year-old Oldenburg gelding are entered in the London Olympia World Cup show on Tuesday and Wednesday that will be the duo’s first competition since the Rio Games.

Kristy, domiciled in Europe, has declared for the WEL and can take one of the nine places allocated to Western Europe League for the Omaha final.

The Pacific/Asia League that includes Australia selects its sole representative at a league final that will be held in Feilding, New Zealand the first week of February.