The Netherlands’ Edward Gal and Glock’s Undercover clinched victory at the latest qualifying leg of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage on home ground on Saturday.
Always favourites to take maximum points after their convincing win in Friday’s Grand Prix, the pair didn’t disappoint when producing some spectacular work when third-last into the arena at ‘s-Hertogenbosch in the final 2014/2015 Western European League leg.
Gal’s masterful riding skills were fully tested by moments of tension from the 14-year-old gelding on whom he finished third at the Reem Acra Final in Lyon, France last season.
Runner-up was Germany’s Isabell Werth who nailed a great performance with Don Johnson FRH, and it was an excellent result for the host nation contingent as Hans Peter Minderhoud and Glock’s Flirt lined up third ahead of fellow-Dutchman Diederik van Silfhout and Arlando NH in fourth spot.
With last-minute points still up for grabs it was always going to be an interesting contest, and Sweden’s Paulinda Friberg took full advantage of one more opportunity to add to her scoreline when posting 76.750 with her black mare, di Lapponia T, just after the judging break. This would eventually leave her in eighth place and in overall 11th spot on the series leaderboard. And, as it turned out, it was good enough to book her ticket to the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage 2014/2015 Final in Las Vegas, USA next month.
Patrick van der Meer posted an impressive 77.750 with Uzzo to take the lead just before Werth set off with Don Johnson who really turned it on with 81.650. The double FEI World Cup Dressage champion decided some time ago that El Santo would be her choice for Las Vegas, but she also wanted to demonstrate the improvements “Johnny” has made. And her decision to return to the music she used when campaigning her former star Warum Nicht, or Hannes as he was also known, turned out to be something of a triumph.
Spain’s Morgan Barbancon Mestre didn’t present any real threat when scoring 78.900 with Painted Black, but at 18 years of age this stallion, who was so successful earlier in his career for Dutch legend Anky van Grunsven from The Netherlands, continues to sparkle. And his mark would eventually leave the pair in fifth spot and earn another of those much-sought-after berths in Las Vegas.
However all eyes were on Gal and Glock’s Undercover as they set off with just three left to run, and it was clear from the outset that the Dutchman was not going to have an easy time. Gal knows how to create enormous energy and power in his horses, but containing it is another thing entirely and the 45-year-old ace had to call on all his extensive experience to complete a test that swung from brilliant to extremely tense. Such was the quality of the good work however that the scoreboard showed 84.925 after they left the arena.
Diederik van Silfhout produced a happy, balanced and compliant performance from Arlando NH for a mark of 79.925 when second-last to go while Dutch compatriot, Hans Peter Minderhoud, also had plenty of reason to be pleased with Glock’s Flirt when last to go. The chestnut stallion was confident and rhythmic throughout his test, and Dutch coach, Wim Ernes, was smiling broadly when a mark of 80.425 went up on the board for this pair.
Gal talked afterwards about his winning test during which he ran into trouble during both of his tempi changes.
“He (Glock’s Undercover) felt very good at the start but then we made a little mistake, and at the start of the changes there was another mistake and we lost a little bit there, but for most of it he felt quite good,” he said.
The result has now decided the top nine riders who have made the cut to the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage Final 2014/2015, but it is not the first nine names on the Western European League leaderboard.
There can only be three representatives from each nation, and since five of the top nine are from Germany, only Jessica von Bredow-Werndl, Fabienne Lutkemeier and Isabell Werth will fly their nation’s flag while Ulla Salzgeber and Sonke Rothenberger miss out. Gal, Danielle Heijkoop and Minderhoud will represent The Netherlands while Agnete Kirk Thinggaard will be the sole Danish competitor, and the door to the 30th FEI World Cup Dressage Final has opened up for Spain’s Morgan Barbancon Mestre and Denmark’s Paulinda Friberg.
Result: 1, Glock’s Undercover (Edward Gal) NED 84.925; 2, Don Johnson FRH (Isabell Werth) GER 81.650; 3, Glock’s Flirt (Hans Peter Minderhoud) NED 80.425; 4, Arlando NH (Diederik van Silfhout) NED 79.925; 5, Painted Black (Morgan Barbancon Mestre) ESP 78.900; 6, Uzzo (Patrick van der Meer) NED 77.500; 7, Eres DL (Jeroen Devroe) BEL 76.950; 8, di Lapponia D (Paulinda Friberg) SWE 76.750; 9, Mister X (Inessa Merkulova) RUS 76.675; 10, Qui Vincit Dynamis (Fabienne Lutkemeier) GER 76.000; 11, Favourit (Sonke Rothenberger) GER 75.375; 12, Smeyers Molberg (Marcela Krinke Susmelj) SUI 75.350; 13, Axis TSF (Terhi Stegars) FIN 74.325; 14, Ulysses la Haya (Laurens van Lieren) NED 72.500; 15, Westpoint (Kirsten Beckers) NED 72.400.
Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage 2014/2015 – Standings after round 9 at ‘s-Hertogenbosch NED:
- Edward Gal NED – 75
- Jessica von Bredow-Werndl GER – 74
- Fabienne Lutkemeier GER – 64
- Isabell Werth GER – 64
- Danielle Heijkoop NED – 60
- Hans Peter Minderhoud NED – 58
- Agnete Kirk Thinggaard DEN – 49
- Ulla Salzgeber GER – 48
- Sonke Rothenberger GER – 47
- Morgan Barbancon Mestre ESP – 42
- Paulinda Friberg SWE – 39
- Adelinde Cornelissen NED – 37
- Marcela Krinke Susmelj SUI – 37
- Tinne Vilhelmson Silfven SWE – 37
Full standings here