Heath Ryan & Regardez Moi Win Aussie World Cup Qualifier in Tie Break

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Heath Ryan and Regardez Moi on their way to World Cup qualifying Grand Prix Freestyle victory
Heath Ryan and Regardez Moi on their way to World Cup qualifying Grand Prix Freestyle victory

SYDNEY, Oct. 30–Heath Ryan on Regardez Moi squeaked out a dramatic win with an identical score to Gitte Donvig on Port Said 10 with the tie broken by artistic marks in the World Cup qualifier Grand Prix Freestyle at the Australian Dressage Championships Saturday night.

Both combinations scored 70.300 per cent while Gitte’s mother, Mary Hanna, on her new Olympic hopeful Sancette finished third on 67.450 per cent before a big crowd enjoying the Saturday night party atmosphere at the Sydney International Equestrian Center. Three of the five judges placed Gitte first and two ranked her second, while two placed Heath first and three second, but the combined scores averaged 70.300 for each of them.

Heath and Regardez Moi set the standard for the night with their score of 70.300 per cent.

Then three time Olympian Mary Hanna on Sancette whom she is aiming for the 2012 Games in London put in a great performance for a score of 67.450 per cent and second place at that stage.

Gitte Donvig and Port Said
Gitte Donvig and Port Said

Gitte was last to go and produced an identical score as Heath. A count back of the artistic scores gave the nod to Heath.

The score for Heath in the second of four World Cup qualifiers in the Asia/Pacific League was the same as the pair received in the 2009 World Cup Final in Las Vegas indicating a return to form after suffering a stroke shortly after returning from the U.S.

The marks for Gitte and Port Said were the highest ever–and the first time reaching 70 per cent–for the 14-year-old gelding that was competed internationally by Mary Hanna before Gitte took over the ride in 2009.

In Friday’s Grand Prix, Heath and the 14-year-old stallion scored 66.383 per cent to place first while Gitte and Port Said 10, owned and competed internationally through 2008 by her mother, was second on 65.021 per cent and Kate Taylor-Wheat on Oscar B was third on 64.979 per cent. Mary was competing for the first time at a CDI on the nine-year-old Sandro Hit gelding Sancette that she bought earlier this year from the United States after being trained by Steffen Peters and finished 4th on 64.511 per cent.

For the 52-year-old Heath Ryan it has been a tough road back from the stroke in May, 2009. He had been the Australian champion in 2008.

“It was hard, I was not even placing,” he said. “I thought my horses were letting me down, but now I realize I was letting them down. I was not operating at full capacity and at this level everyone is at their best.”

As an accomplished Eventing rider, he is aiming for the London Olympic Games in 2012 in both Eventing and Dressage.

“I thought I was done, but things are coming together in both disciplines and I will be having a good crack at both teams for London,” he said.

The Prix St. Georges with 35 competitors, was won by Kate Taylor-Wheat on World Star with reserve champion Young Rider Megan Bryant on Donabella. Megan is Australia’s entrant in the Young Rider World Cup in Frankfurt, Germany, in mid-December.

Complete results of the Grand Prix Freestyle: GrandPrixFreestyle