Isabell Werth & Weihegold Win World Cup Grand Prix, USA’s Laura Graves & Verdades Runner-Up–Final Showdown to Come Saturday

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Isabell Werth on Weihegold OLD at the end of the ride that gave the German pair the victory in the World Cup Grand Prix. © 2019 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

GOTHENBURG, Sweden, April 5, 2019–Reigning World Cup champion Isabell Werth on Weihegold OLD, No. 1 on the globe, won the Grand Prix Friday with America’s Laura Graves on Verdades runner-up to set up a battle in the Freestyle that would give the German superstar partnership their third straight title or a possible third USA duo to hold aloft the trophy.

Isabell, who will be 50 years old in three months and is history’s most decorated Olympic equestrian rode the 14-year-old Oldenburg mare to a score of 81.755 per cent.

Laura Graves, 31 years old and on Verdades traded the world No. 1 ranking with the German combination last year, were awarded 80.109 per cent, the highest Grand Prix score for the pair since leading the United States to team silver at last fall’s World Equestrian Games.

Daniel Bachmann Andersen, the 28-year-old Danish star on Blue Hors Zack, was third on 78.152 per cent.

Laura Graves and Verdades on the final centerline of the World Cup Grand Prix. © 2019 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

American team mates Kasey Perry-Glass on Dublet, ranked No. 5 in the world, placed fourth on 77.267 per centand Adrienne Lyle on Salvino tied with former World Cup champion Hans Peter Minderhoud on Glock’s Dream Boy for the  eighth spot on 75.326 per cent.

The World Cup will be decided by the Freestyle Saturday where Isabell will be looking for the third straight title on Weihegold and to bring her total of wins to five–from the first on Fabienne in 1992 to the second on Warum Nicht at Las Vegas in 2007..

Weiehegold, Isabel said, “was really fantastic. She was really focused and motivated. She has been in really great shape, really motivated… maybe too motivated. That was the question. But she was fantastic. She felt really comfortable; it was a pleasure to ride her today.

“Tomorrow is another game. I feel the breeze on my neck, so you never know.”

One of those breathing down Isabell’s neck is Daniel Bachmann Andersen on Blue Hors Zack. The 15-year-old stallion lost an eye in a halter accident at the age of six. © 2019 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Laura Graves who lives in the Orlando area community of Geneva and has been runner-up on her 17-year-old KWPN gelding to Isabell the past two years said: “I am uncredibly hungry to be on the top of the podium.

“I know there’s a real chance. I believe in this horse.

“We’re going to ride like there’s not another chance.”

She said she’s looking forward to be on the team for the Tokyo Olympics next year, but she is taking it day by day.

“Every fall I wait for him to tell me what he wants to do. This year is no exception; he’ll get a break. When he says, ‘mum, that’s enough,’ he’ll stay home.”

Kasey and Dublet were at the top of the scoreboard at the end of the first half of the competition that was their second World Cup. From the seven judges, the pair received a nine and two 8.5s for both the one and two-tempi changes.

Kasey Perry-Glass and Dublet performing two-tempi changes in the World Cup Grand Prix. © 2019 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Laura made a point at the news conference after the Grand Prix of of noting that all three American riders here were under 35–she is 31 as is Kasy and Adrienne is 34.

“It’s an exciting thing for us,” she said, “three young women along with their horses that have the drive and motivarion–stamping our own American training.”

All three were personally coached by Debbie McDonald, the 2003 World Cup champion on Brentina, who has since taken over as national coach.

In the first World Cup for Adrienne Lyle, she rode Salvino to eighth place and the second highest Grand Prix score for the American team pair. © 2019 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Germany’s Helen Langehanenberg on Damsey FRH, ranked sixth in the world, placed fifth on 76.957 per cent.

Helen, World Cup champion on Damon Hill in 2013 and the Hanoverian stallion is owned by Americans Louise Leatherdale and Susanne Meyer of Long Lake, Minnesota and was one of five horses aged 17 in the competition.

Helen Langehanenberg, the 2013 World Cup champion on Damon Hill, competing Damsey FRH in the World Cup Grand Prix in Gothenburg, Sweden. Helen and Damsey received a mark of nine, one at 8.5 and five eights for the right pirouette. © 2019 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Results:

World Cup Grand Prix

Judges-K: Maria Colliander-FIN E: Magnus Ringmark-SWE H: Thomas Lang-AUT C: Stephen ClarkeGBR M: Maria Schwennesen-AUS B: Henning Lehrmann-GER F: Jean-Michel Roudier-FRA

Place Score Nation Athlete Horse K E H C M B F Spectators
1. 81.755 GER Isabell Werth Weihegold OLD 78.152 83.370 82.717 81.739 83.804 80.761 81.739 80.565 (1)
2. 80.109 USA Laura Graves Verdades 79.022 78.152 78.696 82.174 81.739 79.130 81.848 79.359 (2)
3. 78.152 DEN Daniel Bachmann Andersen Blue Hors Zack 77.391 78.478 77.174 79.891 77.283 78.043 78.804 78.131 (3)
4. 77.267 USA Kasey Perry-Glass Goerklintgaards Dublet 78.370 78.370 76.848 79.348 75.435 78.370 74.130 74.806 (8)
5. 76.957 GER Helen Langehanenberg Damsey FRH 76.957 78.261 77.935 77.174 76.630 76.522 75.217 76.438 (6)
6. 76.304 SWE Patrik Kittel Delaunay OLD 76.522 76.413 73.370 78.587 76.848 75.543 76.848 77.095 (5)
7. 75.792 NED Emmelie Scholtens Apache 76.304 76.522 73.261 76.413 75.761 75.652 76.630 78.051 (4)
8. 75.326 NED Hans Peter Minderhoud Glock’s Dream Boy N.O.P. 73.696 75.870 74.239 76.304 75.870 75.652 75.652 74.842 (7)
8. 75.326 USA Adrienne Lyle Salvino 75.109 73.804 75.326 78.478 74.239 73.478 76.848 74.075 (9)
10. 73.882 SWE Tinne Vilhelmson Silfvén Don Auriello 73.261 75.326 72.283 76.196 72.174 74.239 73.696 73.858 (10)
11. 73.758 GER Benjamin Werndl Daily Mirror 9 73.370 72.935 74.239 74.130 73.261 73.696 74.674 72.681 (12)
12. 72.096 POR Maria Caetano Coroado 71.739 71.304 71.630 72.826 72.174 72.065 72.935 72.757 (11)
13. 71.165 FRA Morgan Barbançon Mestre Sir Donnerhall II OLD 71.413 71.957 70.652 70.652 70.652 71.087 71.739 71.331 (13)
14. 69.860 IRL Judy Reynolds Vancouver K 70.217 70.543 68.804 71.304 69.565 70.326 68.261 69.909 (14)
15. 67.019 DOM Yvonne Losos De Muniz Aquamarijn 63.804 67.174 66.739 69.783 67.065 65.870 68.696 67.292 (16)
16. 66.739 RSA Tanya Seymour Ramoneur 6 65.543 67.500 65.435 68.587 66.196 66.522 67.391 67.538 (15)
17. 66.289 RUS Regina Isachkina Sun Of May Life 65.543 67.174 65.761 65.109 67.717 65.652 67.065 65.631 (17)
18. 66.025 BLR Olga Safronova Sandro D Amour 65.652 68.913 66.196 63.913 66.630 67.065 63.804 65.214 (18)