Kristy Oatley & Du Soleil Win Zakrzów World Cup Freestyle for Aussie Olympic Pair’s 1st Big Tour Victory
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ZAKRZÓW, Poland, Nov. 6, 2016–Australia’s Kristy Oatley and Du Soleil won the World Cup Freestyle Sunday for the first Big Tour victory by the Olympic partnership. The win vaulted the German-based rider to the top of the Western European League standings in her campaign to go to the championship in Omaha next March.
The mother of three and her 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding scored 75.200 per cent for the narrow win over Germany’s Juliane Brunkhorst and Fürstano on 75.025 per cent. Austria’s Belinda Weinbauer and Söhnlein Brilliant MJ were third on 74.350 per cent.
Kristy, 38 years old and a four-time Olympian, won the CDI3* Grand Prix and Special here on her Swagman.
The success on Du Soleil, on whom she is ranked No. 62 in the world and behind only her cousin Lyndal Oatley on Sandro Boy among Australians, comes a month after the pair’s fourth place finish at this season’s opening Western European League (WEL) event at Odense, Denmark.
“So very proud of my two horses,” Kristy told dressage-news.com, “three wins.
“Today Du Soleil showed great piaffe, passage and trot work. A small mistake in the one and two-tempi changes,” she said of the horse she began competing at international Big Tour a year ago.
The 20 points that Kristy earned Sunday although a Central European League event are carried back to her home WEL and added to the 13 she was awarded at Odense to give her a total of 33 points and putting her atop the rankings. Before this week, she was tied for 19th on the WEL standings. She had debuted a new freestyle at Odense that highlights the horse’s big gaits.
Denmark’s Malene Ebbesen who placed fourth here earned enough points to move her into a tie with Marcela Krinke Susmelj of Switzerland and Terhi Stegars of Finland on 30 points for second place in the WEL rankings.
However, the qualifying procedures for the World Cup Final with a total of 18 combinations to be invited are complicated and do not guarantee the best will make it to the annual championship. The format of four geographic leagues–Western Europe, Central Europe, North America and Pacific/Asia–differ from each other and qualifying is fundamentally the same as when first created 32 years ago.
Western Europe that is allocated nine starting places and Central Europe with two are based on points for four best placings. North America counts the average of the top two scores while Pacific/Asia hosts a league final to select its sole representative, that means Kristy’s success does not count in the Pacific League so to be invited to the final she likely will need to claim the single additional starting place available.
Although this event was the second last in the Central European circuit to qualify for two places at Omaha, the results were not enough to change the top standings–Inessa Merkulova of Russia at No. 1 and Hanna Karasiova of Belarus in second.
The next event in the nine-show WEL is in Stuttgart, Germany in two weeks and the last of the CEL qualifiers is scheduled for Moscow Dec. 9-11.