World Cup wrap: New star for Werth; hometown victory for Schwizer

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Germany’s Isabell Werth won the seventh leg of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage 2015/2016 Western European League at the sold-out RAI Arena in Amsterdam on Saturday, riding Weihegold.
Germany’s Isabell Werth and Weihegold won the seventh leg of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage Western European League for the season at the sold-out RAI Arena in Amsterdam on Saturday. © FEI/Arnd Bronkhorst

Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage 2015/2016 Western European League, Amsterdam

Isabell Werth created quite a stir when winning the seventh leg on Saturday with Weihegold. The lovely mare was competing in her very first international Freestyle, but in the hands of the 46-year-old German athlete who includes six Olympic gold medals and two World Cup titles amongst her career highlights, the 11-year-old posted a spectacular score in the early stages of the competition and could not be beaten.

Germany also claimed runner-up spot when Jessica von Bredow-Werndl and Unee BB pushed The Netherlands‘ Diederik van Silfhout and Arlando down to third, while Olympic, European and defending Reem Acra champion Charlotte Dujardin slotted into fourth for Great Britain with Uthopia.

Friday’s Grand Prix was dominated by the home contingent, 2010 FEI World Cup Dressage champion Edward Gal leading the way with Glock’s Voice followed by van Silfhout in second and Hans Peter Minderhoud and Glock’s Flirt in third.

But on Saturday in an intricate test that oozed willingness, energy and focus, Weihegold showed effortless piaffe, lovely extended trot and passage and strong canterwork. And the big smile on the face of Werth’s patron, Madeleine Winter-Schulze, as she watched from the sidelines was reflected by the rider who could be seen to go – “Oh Wow!” – as she drew to a halt with the black mare who is owned by Christine Ams-Krogmann.

Weihegold has been ridden for most of her career by the German rider’s assistant trainer, Beatrice Buchwald. It was always planned that Werth would take over the ride when the horse had enough experience.

“She (Weihegold) is a clear option for the German team and the Olympics now. I ride her to give her my experience, but Bea will continue to ride her as well and we will try all options to find the strongest combination for Rio. I’m really happy to have such a strong team of horses,” Werth said.

She talked about the arrangement that has been reached between the mare’s owners and her long-time patron.  “They have found a solution together with Madeleine (Winter-Schulze) to keep the horse for me to ride. There have been many offers to buy her, but in the end there is a good solution between the owners and Madeleine who is always very happy to help – it’s all about team-work. With Madeleine I am very close – she is always at our side, and at my side,” said the German star.

Result: 1, Weihegold Old (Isabell Werth) GER 83.450; 2, Unee BB (Jessica von Bredow-Werndl) GER 83.350; 3, Arlando NOP (Diederik van Silfhout (NED) 82.750; 4, Uthopia (Charlotte Dujardin) GBR 82.375; 5, Glock’s Flirt (Hans Peter Minderhoud) NED 82.250; 6, Glock’s Voice (Edward Gal) NED 82.100; 7, Watermill Scandic (Patrik Kittel) SWE 79.950; 8, Annarico (Fanny Verliefden) BEL 78.975; 9, Donnperignon (Anna Kasprzak) DEN 78.175; 10, Apache (Emmelie Scholtens) NED 75.450; 11, Rubicon D (Beata Stremier) POL 75.125; 12, Tiamo (Jorinde Verwimp) BEL 74.625; 13, Eres Dl (Jeroen Devroe) BEL 74.350; 14, Jojo Az (Agnete Kirk Thinggaard) DEN 73.900; 15, Rainbow Dancer (Anne Lene Holmen) NOR 71.200.

Pius Schwizer during the Swiss national anthem after winning the Zurich Longines FEI World Cup Jumping leg on PSG Future on Sunday.
Pius Schwizer during the Swiss national anthem after winning the Zurich Longines FEI World Cup Jumping leg on PSG Future on Sunday. © FEI/Tomas Holcbecher


Longines FEI World Cup Jumping 2015/2016 Western European League, Zurich

Pius Schwizer and PSG Future set the Hallenstadion in Zurich, Switzerland, alight on Sunday when snatching a thrilling last-to-go victory for the host nation in the penultimate leg of the Western European League. Only nine of the 39 starters found the key to the tough first-round track set by Swiss course designer Gerard Lachat, and Ireland’s Denis Lynch claimed his second runner-up finishing spot in a row with All Star, while Australia’s Edwina Alexander lined up third with Caretina de Joter.

The result has seriously boosted Lynch’s position on the Western European League leaderboard, with 17 points rocketing him up to 13th spot. Now with a total of 34 points, the Irishman is well within sight of a top-18 qualifying spot for the Final which will take place in Gothenburg, Sweden, from March 23-28. As it stands, it looks like riders with points in the mid-30s should book their ticket to the Swedish fixture.

But Schwizer still has some work to do if he is to make the cut. Sunday’s maximum 20 points still leave him on a total of only 24. So the man who has stood on the Final podium on so many previous occasions, but who has never laid claim to the coveted Longines FEI World Cup trophy, will be doing serious battle at the last qualifying leg in Bordeaux, France, next Saturday.

Sunday’s jump-off was a cracker, with the excitement sizzling all the way to the very end. Denis Lynch and his 13-year-old All Star stormed home without fault in 42.34 seconds to put it right up to Schwizer as the final competitor.

But the 53-year-old Swiss is a man who knows how to handle pressure, and although he rattled both elements of the double en route, he blasted through the finish in 41.97 seconds to settle the matter. This was his second FEI World Cup victory at Zurich, previously topping the line-up in 2014 with Toulago.

Result: 1, PSG Future (Pius Schwizer) SUI 0/0 41.97; 2, All Star (Denis Lynch) IRL 0/0 42.34; 3, Caretina de Joter (Edwina Tops-Alexander) AUS 0/0 45.31; 4, Viking (Michael Whitaker) GBR 0/4 39.89; 5, Carella (Niklas Krieg) GER 0/4 41.78; 6, Clooney (Martin Fuchs) SUI 0/4 41.92; 7, Cas de Liberte (Niels Bruynseels) BEL 0/4 43.99; 8, Epleaser van T Heike (Christian Ahlmann) GER 0/4 43.99; 9, Casallo Z (Piergiorgio Bucci) ITA 0/8 43.04.

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