Totilas Takes Neumünster World Cup Event, Alone Atop Standings
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NEUMÜNSTER, Germany, Feb. 21–The sensational run by Moorlands Totilas and Edward Gal’s in the FEI World Cup™ Dressage series continued Sunday when the Dutch pair recorded their third victory to put them atop the leaderboard heading to the black stallion’s first global championship.
The capacity crowd of 4,800 at the German venue could hardly contain their excitement when witnessing Totilas in the heart of Holsteiner country where jumping is very much the local passion. But Totilas’s spell-binding quality that captures the heart of horse-lover’s and the emotion of dedicating the event to Gribaldi, the sire of Totilas who died last week, stole the limelight once again.
The 10-year-old Totilas and Gal posted a score of 87.600 per cent, more than five percentage points ahead of second placed Adelinde Cornelissen and Jerich Parzival also of The Netherlands on 82.500 per cent with Germany’s Isabell Werth and Warum Nicht FRH placing third on 81.400 per cent.
Totilas and Edward, European Champions in 2009, were placed first by all five judges, while Adelinde and Parzival, were placed second by four judges but third by Katrina Wüst of Germany who gave Isabell and Warum Nicht the second spot. Denmark’s Nathalie zu Sayn-Wittgenstein and Digby were fourth, the same positions the top four filled in Saturday’s Grand Prix.
There were 15 starters in Sunday’s competition, the eighth of nine qualifiers in the World Cup West European League.
The Netherlands’ Jeannette Haazen and the 15-year-old Nartan held the lead at the halfway stage with a mark of 75.15 per cent. However, with five left to go, Gal and Totilas dramatically re-set the parameters when scoring 87.60 per cent.
“There were some small mistakes in the one-tempi and some mis-steps, too, but I was really happy with our performance today,” Gal said. “The passage and piaffe were marvellous and we did a really good extended trot–it felt even better than Amsterdam because the horse was not stressed like he was there. This time he was much happier.”
Denmark’s Nathalie and Digby produced another excellent performance for 77.50 per cent when next into the ring, while Germany’s Carola Koppelmann and the 17-year-old Le Bo scored 76.80 per cent to move temporarily into third. The final two riders would change the order once again.
Second-last to go was Adelinde with the chestnut Parzival whose brilliance can sometimes be undermined by nervous tension. At Neumünster the spectators are very close to the edge of the arena, but despite the intense atmosphere and the fact that he had never visited this venue before, the gelding achieved a score of 82.50 per cent.
“We had a few mistakes, but I think Parzival coped very well and I’m delighted with him,” she said.
Isabell said she was pleased with her 14-year-old “Hannes,” as she calls Warum Nicht. “In the last six months he has grown in character and in confidence, and today he was much more concentrated.”
The win rocketed Edward and Totilas to sole leader in the standings with 75 points. Until Sunday, they had shared the lead with Imke Schellekens-Bartels and Hunter Douglas Sunrise.
The tremendous depth at the top of Dutch dressage has led to intense competition for the available slots for the Netherlands in the final in their homeland, at ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Mar. 25-28. Although the rules allow for a maximum of three qualifiers from a single nation, special invitations or wild cards can be issued to riders which could happen as the final will be in The Netherlands.
Adelinde now lies second on the leaderboard with 58 points, Imke Schellekens-Bartels is third with 55, Haazen fourth now carrying 50 and nine-time champion Anky Van Grunsven in fifth on 47 points.
The third place by Isabell placed them in a strong position to win a place in the final after returning to competition last Christmas following a break of six months to have a baby. She has 44 points making her the second highest ranked German one point behind Matthias Alexander Rath.
The next and final leg in Gothenburg, Sweden, later this week.
Gal commented on the rousing reception that he and Totilas received at Neumünster.
“Yesterday we got a standing ovation, and today it was crazy during the prizegiving–the crowd was fantastic and it’s wonderful to ride a horse that is so loved by so many people.”
Although he knows that with Totilas he can afford to make some mistakes and still win a competition, he insists he is not complacent.
“I don’t take anything for granted,” he said. “We all have some difficult days and you don’t know the result until after the test is over–after all he is still a horse!”
2009/2010 FEI WORLD CUP™ DRESSAGE – STANDINGS after Round 8 at Neumünster
1. Edward Gal – 75
2. Adelinde Cornelissen – 58
3. Imke Schellekens-Bartels – 55
4. Jeanette Haazen – 50
5. Anky Van Grunsven – 47
6. Matthias Alexander Rath – 45
7. Isabel Werth – 44
8. Monica theodorescu – 41
9. Aat Van Essen – 38
10. Nathalie Zu Sayn-Wittgenstein – 37
10. Jeroen Devroe – 37
12. Carola Koppelmann – 36
12. Patrik Kittel – 36
14. Laura Bechtolsheimer – 32
14. Hubertus Schmidt – 32
16. Hans Peter Minderhoud – 30
17. Tinne Vilhelmson Silfven – 27
18. Peter Gmoser – 25
19. Catherine Haddad – 24
20. Ellen Schulten-Baumer – 21
Results of the Grand Prix Musical Freestyle:
Results of the Grand Prix: