Hayley Beresford & Belissimo Perform Strongest in Manheim GP Special Aussie Selection Trial

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Hayley Beresford and Belissimo NRW. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

MANNHEIM, Germany, May 6–Hayley Beresford and the German stallion Belissimo NRW turned in the strongest performance of the three Australian combinations in the Olympic Grand Prix Special Sunday, scoring 69.333 per cent at the Mannheim CDI3* to complete the first of two trials in Europe from which the team for the London Games will be selected.

Of the Oatley cousins, the two other Aussies in the Special, Lyndal and Sandro Boy scored 66.889, while Kristy and Ronan were at 66.156 per cent. Before Sunday, neither had ridden in aCDI the Special that was created for this Olympic year.

In the Grand Prix Saturday, Lyndal and the Sandro Hit gelding were the top Australian finishers with 69.723 per cent with Hayley and Belissimo placed second with 68.872 per cent and Kristy and Ronan scored 68.553 per cent.

The final selection competition for Australia will be the CDI3* at Compiegne, France, in early June.

Belissimo is a 13-year-old Rheinländer (Beltain x Roxa x Romadour II) that Hayley began competing at Grand Prix at the end of 2011 and the three Big Tour shows before this weekend were indoors. Hayley had success with Belissimo at small tour a year ago.

Based in Germany, the 34-year-old rider has experienced success and setbacks.

She rode the 13-year-old Lusitano stallion, Relãmpago do Retiro, for the Australian team at the 2008 Olympics at the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Kentucky.

Throughout much of the time, she battled breast cancer. At the World Equestrian Festival in Aachen, Germany, for example, she competed during the day and went to the hospital at nght for treatment.

Relãmpago was euthanized after a freak traffic accident last June.