Questions Over World Cup Substitute for Scratched Lars Petersen & Mariett

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Catherine Haddad-Staller riding Mane Stream Hotmail in the Adequan Global Dressage Festival World Cup Freestyle. © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Catherine Haddad-Staller riding Mane Stream Hotmail in the Adequan Global Dressage Festival World Cup Freestyle. © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

Questions were raised Tuesday over the apparent bypassing of the United States’ Catherine Haddad-Staller and Mane Stream Hotmail to name Russia’s Elena Sidneva and Romeo-Star in the official entries for the World Cup Final in Lyon, France after Lars Petersen of Denmark scratched Mariett because of an abscess.

The names of Lars and Mariett were removed after their withdrawal was reported by the Danish federation and Elena and Romeo-Star placed on the latest list to maintain the maximum of 18 starting combinations for the annual individual global championship to be held this weekend.

The final 2013/14 standings of the four geographic leagues that make up the World Cup showed that Catherine Haddad-Staller and Hotmail ranked third in the North American League while Elena and Romeo-Star ranked seventh in the Central European League. Under the rules, both leagues qualify two riders.

Russia's Elena Sidneva and Romeo-Star. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Russia’s Elena Sidneva and Romeo-Star. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

The section of World Cup rules that applies “in case not all qualified athletes can participate in the Final” is “7.2. in Leagues with 2 qualified athletes: substitution to 4th place.”

That would appear, some riders said, to prevent substituting the Russian combination.

The American pair, however, in the view of the same riders, meet the qualifying requirements.

Catherine of Califon, New Jersey and Hotmail were already in Europe to compete in some major events in the next two months ahead of the United States’ World Equestrian Games selection trials in mid-June.

Officials of the Lausanne, Switzerland-based International Equestrian Federation (FEI) that owns the event were reported traveling to Lyon Tuesday and not available.

Robert Dover, the U.S. chef d’equipe, was also traveling to the event where the American combinations of Tina Konyot and Calecto V and Cesar Parra and Van the Man will participate.

Catherine and the 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding competed in four NAL qualifiers with their best result 74.200 per cent at the Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Florida in March.

Elena and the 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Romantic Star x Mister A) competed in both the Central and Western European Leagues posting a high of 71.725 per cent at Neumünster, Germany in February.

Definite entries that closed April 8 listed Inessa Merkulova and Mister X as the sole Russian pair.