World Cup Dressage Starts Thursday

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Going head to head are Edward Gal on Glock's Undercover and Carlotte Dujardin on Valegro in warmup session Wednesday, the day before the start of the World Cup Final with the Grand Prix. © 2015 Ilse Schwarz/dressage-news.com
Going head to head are Edward Gal on Glock’s Undercover and Charlotte Dujardin on Valegro in warmup training session Wednesday, the day before the start of the World Cup Final with the Grand Prix. © 2015 Ilse Schwarz/dressage-news.com

LAS VEGAS, April 15, 2015–The Reem Acra FEI World Cup Final in dressage gets underway Thursday with the Grand Prix that will see reigning champion and world No. 1 Charlotte Dujardin on Valegro hot favorites in this gambling mecca to make it two in a row.

At a training warmup session in the Thomas & Mack Center for the 30th year of the annual individual global championship, Charlotte and the 13-year-old KWPN gelding who captured the title in Lyon, France a year ago brought cheers from the crowd of about 4,500 fans who filled about a third of the seats that will be filled for the Grand Prix and the Freestyle on Saturday.

Edward Gal of the Netherlands, a favorite here since his appearance the first time the dual Finals of dressage and jumping were staged in this same arena a decade ago, is expected to be challenged by America’s Laura Graves on Verdades who were struggling to make it to the U.S. championships when Charlotte and Valegro basked in victory in their first attempt at winning the World Cup.

The two American combinations of Steffen Peters on Legolas and Laura Graves on Verdades working at the Thomas & Mack Center in preparation for the start of the World Cup Final. © Ilse Schwarz/dressage-news.com
The two American combinations of Steffen Peters on Legolas and Laura Graves on Verdades working at the Thomas & Mack Center in preparation for the start of the World Cup Final. © Ilse Schwarz/dressage-news.com
Alan Davies making final adjustments before Charlotte Dujardin rides Valegro into the Thomas & Mack Center. © Ilse Schwarz/dressage-news.com
Alan Davies making final adjustments before Charlotte Dujardin rides Valegro into the Thomas & Mack Center. © Ilse Schwarz/dressage-news.com
A roar went up from the fans when Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro appeared in the competition arena for a few minutes of training--with horse owner and trainer/mentor Carl Hester providing guidance by radio. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
A roar went up from the fans when Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro appeared in the competition arena for a few minutes of training–with horse owner and trainer/mentor Carl Hester providing guidance by radio. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Charlotte Dujardin on Valegro showing off extended trot. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Charlotte Dujardin on Valegro showing off extended trot. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Extended trot by Glock's Undercover ridden by Edward Gal. © 2015 Ilse Schwarz/dressage-news.com
Extended trot by Glock’s Undercover ridden by Edward Gal. © 2015 Ilse Schwarz/dressage-news.com
Isabell Werth, who won the title in Las Vegas in 2007, riding El Santo NRW. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Isabell Werth, who won the title in Las Vegas in 2007, riding El Santo NRW. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Inessa Merkulova of Russia, a virtual unknown on this side of the Atlantic, entertained the crowd with the flamboyant movements of Mister X, © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Inessa Merkulova of Russia, a virtual unknown on this side of the Atlantic, entertained the crowd with the flamboyant movements of Mister X, © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com