Lyndal Oatley to Battle the Odds Campaigning for World Cup Start
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Aug. 29, 2015
By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
With Sandro Boy back near top form, Australia’s Lyndal Oatley plans to campaign for a start in the World Cup Final despite the rules and format of the only annual global individual championship stacking the odds against the Olympic and World Games pair.
The Germany-based Lyndal and the 14-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Sandro Hit x Argentinus) have competed only lightly since the World Games a year ago where she was on the team that qualified Australia for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
The 35-year-old Lyndal, married to Swedish Olympian Patrik Kittel, is also working with Kyra Kyrklund, one of the world’s leading trainers and coach of the Swedish team, as she starts the buildup to the World Cup season followed by the Rio Games next summer.
The duo capped the three competitions so far this year with a Grand Prix Freestyle result of 75.450 per cent at Falsterbo, Sweden in July, the highest score for an Australian combination outside their homeland and exceeded only by 75.950 per cent that team mate Mary Hanna on Umbro posted at a CDI Down Under. And it was 0.750 per cent off the personal best of 76.525 per cent for Lyndal and Sandro Boy in 2012 that, a review of available records shows, was the second highest ever for an Australian combination to 77.650 per cent logged by Kristy Oatley, her cousin and also based in Germany, on the Olympic team stallion Quando-Quando in 2008.
Lyndal, who rode Potifar on the Australian team at the World Games in 2010 then on Sandro Boy at the 2012 Olympics and the 2014 world championships, has not competed at a World Cup Final that in 2016 will be staged in Gothenberg, Sweden.
Lyndal is also developing the seven-year-old Swedish Warmblood mare, Diva, that she brought out at international small tour this year.
In shows at Hagen, Germany and Compiègne, France in the summer, the pair scored a high of 70.342 per cent for fourth place in a starting lineup of 33 combinations from 12 countries.
Like Sandro Boy, Diva that Lyndal began riding two years ago is owned by her parents.
She’s not put off by the odds against earning a World Cup Final start.
“We’ll give it our best shot and see what happens,” she told dressage-news.com.
Under current World Cup rules, initially written with the creation of the European indoor winter circuit, the odds are stacked most against Australians based outside their homeland, especially in the intensely competitive Western European League (WEL). The rules specify that riders not representing WEL countries can participate as “extra invited athletes but cannot take starting places from WEL athletes…”
Australians based outside their homeland face an extra hurdle.
The Pacific League is the only one of the four leagues–the others being WEL, Central Europe and North America–that decides the region’s sole World Cup representative by a league final held in Australia, irrespective of the results of Australian combinations elsewhere in the world even if markedly better.
Mary Hanna on Umbro and Heath Ryan on Regardez Moi placed first and second, respectively, in the 2015 league final but both opted not to go to Las Vegas for the Final. Australia has been represented in the World Cup Final only every other year in the past four years.