Spanish rider Beatriz Ferrer-Salat scored a convincing victory on Delgado in the latest Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage leg in Lyon, France, on Friday.
Two months ago Ferrer-Salat and Delgado won Freestyle bronze at the FEI European Championships in Aachen, Germany, and they had sent a warning shot across the bows of their rivals when topping Thursday’s Grand Prix with a personal-best mark of 79.250. All five members of the Ground Jury were in agreement when awarding them the winning Freestyle score of 82.875 in the second leg of the Western European League.
But the spectators held their breath after a spectacular performance from Patrik Kittel who was last to go in the thrilling contest. If there had been extra marks on offer for pure excitement, then the Swedish rider would definitely have had it in the bag because, with the willing assistance of his lovely mare Deja, he threw down a test that was nothing short of funky. The crowd couldn’t resist moving to the sound of his Stevie Wonder-themed musical score, but his final mark of 81.175 left him in second spot ahead of Germany’s Fabienne Lutkemeier and D’Agostino in third. Switzerland’s Marcel Krinke Susmelj lined up fourth with Smeyers Molberg, Ireland’s Judy Reynolds finished fifth with Vancouver K and the sole French representative, Pierre Volla, claimed sixth spot with his young mare Badinda Altena.
There was excitement in the Irish camp as the score of 77.425% by Reynolds and her 13-year-old Jazz gelding was new Irish record in a Grand Prix Kür , smashing the record the Kildare rider set in April in Hagen, Germany, when she scored 75.775%.
“We were hoping for a top five finish, and the way the scores were going we knew we had to do something special”, said Reynolds. “To break the record by that much was fantastic.”
It has been quite a year for the winner, 49-year-old Ferrer-Salat, who, during her successful career with her former ride, Beauvalais, finished third at the FEI World Cup Dressage Final in s’Hertogenbosch in 2002, claimed individual silver at the FEI World Equestrian Games on home turf in Jerez, and won individual bronze at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.
“This was only our first competition since the Europeans, so I’m very happy!” she said.
Her partnership with Delgado has been beset by injury problems for the horse over the last eight years, but somehow she kept faith with to the 14-year-old gelding and that faith has being repaid handsomely over the last nine months. The pair re-emerged onto the international stage in March and had just two competitions under their belt before taking that bronze medal in Aachen in August where she also helped her country qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Together they present a beautifully balanced, forward-going picture.
The next leg of the World Cup dressage series will take place at Stuttgart in Germany on Saturday, November 21.
Result: 1, Delgado (Beatriz Ferrer-Salat) ESP 82.875; 2, Deja (Patrik Kittel) SWE 81.175; 3, D’Agostino (Fabienne Lutkemeier) GER 79.850; 4, Smeyers Molberg (Marcela Krinke Susmelj) SUI 78.000; 5, Vancouver K (Judy Reynolds) IRL 77.425; 6, Badinda Altena (Pierre Volla) FRA 74.150; 7, Batuta (Goncalo Carvalho) POR 74.125; 8, Finckenstein TSF (Rikke Svane) DEN 72.125; 9, Spirit of the Age OLD (Bernadette Brune) GER 72.075; 10, Dandy de la Roche CMF (Antonella Joannou) SUI 71.300; 11, Raffaelo v. Bene (Anna-Mengia Aerne) SUI 71.075; 12, Beckham (Marina Mattsson) SWE 69.600; 13, Santurion de Massa (Daniel Pinto) POR 68.625; 14, Sal (Silvia Rizzo) ITA 64.975; 15, Sunny Boy (Juan Antonio Jiminez) ESP 64.775.
Western European League leaderboard after 2 rounds:
- Patrik Kittel SWE – 37
- Marcela Krinke Susmelj SUI – 33
- Inna Logutenkova UKR – 30
- Judy Reynolds IRL – 24
- Alexandre Ayache FRA – 20
- Beatriz Ferrer-Salat ESP – 20
- Edward Gal NED – 20
- Ellen Schulten-Baumer GER – 20
- Charlotte Haid Bondergaard SWE – 19
- Goncales Carvalho POR – 19
- Jenny Larsson SWE – 19
- Anna Kasprzak DEN – 17
- Jessica von Bredow-Werndl GER- 17
- Matthias Bouten GER – 17