Japan’s Hiroyuki Kitahara & Huracan Win Cappeln CDI4* Grand Prix Freestyle for First European Win by Japanese Rider in Years
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
CAPPELN, Germany, July 27, 2019–Hiroyuki Kitahara on Huracan won the Cappeln Dressur International CDI4* Grand Prix Freestyle Saturday with a personal best score and the first victory by a Japanese rider in Europe in years.
Hiroyuki and the 11-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding scored 74.205% that beat the pair’s previous high score of 72.050% set in Austria six weeks ago. It also was the highest score of any of the 18 Japanese riders on the current International Equestrian Federation (FEI) world rankings.
“I didn’t expect this,” he told dressage-news.com, and laughingly added, “Amazing! Too much for me. I am very, very happy.”
Austria’s Stefan Lehfellner on Fackeltanz OLD placed second on 74.125% and Juliette Piotrowski of Germany on Sir Diamond was third on 72.500%.
The win for Hiroyuki, 47 years old and a lifelong equestrian, came a day after placing second in the Grand Prix on a score of 69.696%, also a personal best and until Saturday the highest placing for the pair.
The win appeared popular among spectators at Gestüt Vorwerk, a long-established breeding station in the German countryside that was bought by Elisabeth Max-Theurer, the Austrian Olympic gold medal winner in 1980, and whose daughter, Victoria, is a four-time Olympian. “Sissy,” as she is known, refurbished and expanded Vorwerk.
Hiroyuki, who wife and 16-year-old daughter remained in Tokyo while he came to Europe to pursue selection for Japan’s team for the 2020 Tokyo Games on the horse that was bought by the Japan Racing Association that is extensively involved in the Olympic equestrian park.
He is coached by Henri Ruoste of Finland who previously owned and competed Huracan (Blue Hors Hotline x Blue Hors Don Schufro).
Last year, he said, “I struggled with my horse that is very talented with big ability so I had a hard time learning how to handle it.” This was despite being involved in equestrian sports since he was eight years old, beginning with vaulting then jumping and now dressage.
Beginning this year, however, the results have improved to the level of this weekend with top finishes.
He made two previous competition tour of Europe seeking unsuccessfully to qualify for the Olympics but succeeded in being on the Japanese team at the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Kentucky.
Hiroyuki leaves for Tokyo next week to inspect the Olympic equestrian facilities and participate in the test event in mid-August. He won’t take Huracan, though, who will stay with Henri Ruoste.
He plans to go to the 12-week long Adequan Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Florida next winter to start to fulfill requirements for selection to the Olympic team. The team of three combinations will be selected at Aachen, Germany in June.
|Grand Prix Freestyle
|Judges:||Evi Eisenhardt-GER||Dietrich Plewa-GER||Alice Schwab-AUT||Susanne Baarup-DEN||Cesar Torrente-COL|
|1.||74.205||JPN||Hiroyuki Kitahara||Huracan 10||73.375||73.625||76.375||72.025||75.625|
|2.||73.475||AUT||Stefan Lehfellner||Fackeltanz OLD||74.000||71.375||73.625||74.250||74.125|
|3.||72.635||GER||Juliette Piotrowski||Sir Diamond||74.500||70.875||72.500||72.800||72.500|
|5.||70.800||BER||Annabelle Collins||Joyero VG||71.250||69.500||70.875||71.000||71.375|
|6.||70.615||USA||Susan Dutta||Figeac DC||71.500||68.625||71.375||69.775||71.800|
|7.||69.240||NED||Margo Timmermans||Catch Me||67.250||70.000||70.625||70.325||68.000|
|9.||67.650||RSA||Laurienne Dittmann||Don Weltino K||65.875||66.375||66.125||70.500||69.375|