Sunrise wins World Cup round with faultless test

December 21, 2009

Imke Schellekens-Bartels took maximum points at the fifth leg of the 2009/2010 FEI World Cup Dressage series in Frankfurt, Germany yesterday with a great Freestyle test from Hunter Douglas Sunrise.

Mirroring the result from the Grand Prix the day before, it was Germany's Monica Theodorescu and Whisper who lined up second ahead of Denmark's Nathalie zu Sayn-Wittgenstein and Digby in third while Germany's Ellen Schulten-Baumer slotted into fourth with Donatha S.

Imke Schellekens-Bartels and Sunrise won the fifth leg of the FEI World Cup Dressage series in Frankfurt, Germany yesterday. © Stefan Lafrentz
Theodorescu has now taken over at the top of the league table with a total of 41 points after her three outings which included the opening leg at Odense in Denmark, the second round at Lyon in France and again on her home ground in Frankfurt. And she was very pleased to find herself heading up the star-studded cast. "For one week at least I am going to be at the top of the World Cup Dressage table - I'm feeling pretty good about that!" she said.

It was the precision and attention to detail that Dutch rider Schellekens-Bartel's the edge. Ground Jury member, Peter Holler from Germany, said afterwards "it was an almost perfect Freestyle and the spectators were spellbound during her ride. The horse is in super condition, the half-pass and piaffe were excellent and Imke's riding was really stunning - she was the very clear winner. They did not make one mistake".

He said that Theodorescu had "some tiny little mistakes" but that her horse's piaffe has shown "great improvement", adding "and Ellen (Schulten-Baumer) was very good today as well - there was significant improvement in her horse's pirouettes".

Imke said she was feeling under pressure to accumulate some points so she was very happy to get the maximum. "Hunter Douglas Sunrise had a long break after the European Championships and Frankfurt is our very first World Cup show so this is the perfect result," she said.

She said its tough being a Dutch dressage rider these days because the others keep going out and breaking world records - "Edward Gal is in a league of his own but the toughest thing right now is to finish ahead of Adelinde and Anky." The dominance of the Dutch is, of course, indisputable at present.

She is delighted that her mare, Sunrise, is in such great form - "she's feeling very happy and very fit and that makes me feel good too!" said the rider who followed her 2008 Olympic team gold medal in Hong Kong with team gold at this summer's Alltech FEI European Dressage Championships at Windsor.

The FEI World Cup Dressage series continues with the sixth leg at Mechelen, Belgium next Sunday.

The stats

Winning rider Imke Schellekens-Bartels is 32 years old and comes from Hooge Mierde in The Netherlands.

15 combinations competed in the competition - 9 from Germany and one each from The Netherlands, Denmark, Switzerland, Austria, Sweden and Belgium.

The four top riders finished in exactly the same positions in Saturday's Grand Prix.

The oldest horse in the FEI World Cup Dressage Freestyle was the 15-year-old Hannovarian Donatha S who finished fourth for Germany's Ellen Schulten-Baumer.

The youngest horse was the KWPN 9 year old Triviant who finished ninth for Germany's Matthias Alexander Rath.

The judges for yesterday's class were : at E - P. Holler (Ger); at H - Dr. E Eisenhardt (Ger); at C - G. Svalling (Swe); at H - G. Fouarget (Ned): at B - S. Clarke (GBR).