European Championships Vet Check Complete, Team Start List
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
GOTHENBURG, Sweden, Aug. 20, 2017–The powerful German team anchored by world No. 1 Isabell Werth and Weihegold OLD drew the favored last start in the lineup of 17 national squads in the European Championships when competition starts Tuesday.
Isabell and the 12-year-old Oldenburg mare that won team gold and individual silver at the 2016 Olympics making the 48-year-old rider the most decorated equestrian Games in history and then the World Cup Final in Omaha this year will be the last of 67 combinations in the Grand Prix that over two days will decide the team title.
These Europeans will also be absent the partnership of Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro for the first time since 2011 when Great Britain won gold for the first time but Carl Hester, the leading rider on Uthopia that year is once again at the forefront for his side on Nip Tuck, his 2016 Olympic mount and World Cup bronze medalist.
The veterinary check for dressage at these championships that also is the Europeans for jumping, driving and para-dressage was held Sunday.
The European dressage Nations Cup was first staged in 1965 and won by Germany the first 21 times. The string was broken in 2007 when the Netherlands won for the first time and has since added two more titles, including the last time at Aachen, Germany in 2015.
Looking to avenge their 2015 defeat to Holland and Britain, the German team of Isabell and Weihegold, Olympic team mate Sönke Rothenberger on Cosmo along with Olympic team riders Dorothee Schneider on Sammy Davis, Jr. and Helen Langehanenberg on Damsey FRH are odds on to capture gold.
The battle is expected to be fierce for silver and bronze.
The countries considered top medal candidates are:
Britain that in addition to Carl Hester and Nip Tuck includes Spencer Wilton on Super Nova II, Gareth Hughes on Don Carissimo and Emile Faurie on Lollipop that he substituted for Weekend Fun that sustained a minor injury;
Netherlands that has Edward Gal on Glock’s Voice but lost his partner Hans Peter Minderhoud on Glock’s Flirt when the horse was injured and now includes Patrick van der Meer on Zippo, Diederik van Silfhout and Madeleine Witte-Vrees and Cennin;
Denmark Anna Kasprzak on Donnperignin, two Olympics and two Europeans under their belt, has recovered from health issues to both horse and rider to return to top sport. The new star is Cathrine Dufour and Cassidy, ranked No. 7 in the world having come up through the levels together, Agnete Kirk Thinggard on Jojo AZ and Anna Zibrandtsen and Arlando, that was bought from Diederik von Silfhout of the Netherlands.
The hometown side of Sweden includes Tinne Vilhemson Silfvén and Paridon Magi in her 10th European Championships. With seven Olympics to her credit, Tinne is popular on both sides of the Atlantic as a top horse person who competes at the Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Florida as well as at the premier European shows. Patrik Kittel, married to Australian Olympian Lyndal Oatley, will ride Delaunay with Therese Nilshagen, also based in Germany as is Patrik, on Dante Weltino OLD and Rose Matheisen on Zuidenwind.
Start list for European Championships Grand Prix team