Equestre Internationale News
World Cup Dressage
CDI-W Mechelen 26-30th December 2003
in Mechelen, Belgium the Dutch invasion on the FEI World Cup dressage
rankings is set to take place.
today's qualifying grand prix, places were won and the grid positions
decided for tomorrow's freestyle to music, where the big business
of accumulating ranking points towards a place in the FEI World
Cup Final (Dusseldorf April 1-4) commences.
World Cup winner and reigning Olympic champion Anky van Grunsven
swept to a clear victory with Gestion Salinero in the qualifying
grand prix today, with stable mate Edward Gal in second place
with Gestion Lingh and in third, Antoinette Falandt, who scored
the highest for Holland at the European Championships, riding
Jarwo. So far the German competitors, punctuated by young British
rider Emma Hindle's assault, which has put her second so far,
have dominated the rankings.
Points leader Heike Kemmer had decided to sit this one out, as
did Hubertus Schmidt (3rd), but Isabell Werth, another former
Cup winner in equal fourth place with Sweden's Louise Nathhorst,
had intended to compete here. Sadly Werth's veteran ride Antony
FRH went lame just before they were due to travel. The field is
open after today's clean
sweep for Holland.
Grunsven only returned to the international grand prix arena in
Maastricht earlier this month, having been sidelined through injury
for much of this year. Her horse Salinero, at only nine years
old, has little experience, and their performance today says much
for the trust between horse and rider, which is essential at this,
the highest level of equestrian competition. Van Grunsven commented:
"It is not an easy arena here. The crowd were very nice and
it was very busy, though that is not the easiest for horses. Salinero
is very inexperienced, although he did not feel like that today.
I am so happy with him, and he has already improved since Maastricht.
It is great to be back."
home ground, it was right that the Belgian riders made a good
showing. Although sadly their current No 1 Johan Zagers was unable
to start due his horse having a 'flu, Jeroen Devroe's sixth place
proved promising for the country, which has not fielded a full
team internationally since 1995.
New Year it is, and while there are hopes to be fulfilled in future,
tomorrow, in Maastricht, in a season where every qualifier is
proving a top class contest for points, there are hopes and dreams
concentrated on the World Cup in possibly its most competitive
season to date.