For Dressage, the Reem Acra FEI WC™ Final in Gothenburg marks the 28th Dressage Final this year. Queen of the FEI World Cup™ series of course still is Anky van Grunsven. She won no less than nine Finals with two horses, five times with the unforgettable Bonfire and four times with her two fold Olympic gold medallist Salinero. Nevertheless remembering all those amazing Finals, Gothenburg has a special place in Van Grunsven's heart. Not because of her win in 1996, but especially because of the very first final she was riding with Prisco. Anky van Grunsven says: "I will never forget the first time that I competed in a FEI World Cup Final showing Prisco in Gothenburg in 1989. I was able to watch Corlandus showed by Margit Otto Crépin at that time. What a special horse! Goosebumps! This power, energy and control combined with an easy elegance! I'll never forget Corlandus. He really marks a special highlight for me in the World Cup history."
Participants and Chances
This year the win will be hotly contested. Some Olympians will make it a hard job for each other. Two fold winner and title defender Adelinde Cornelissen will perform a new Freestyle with her Olympic silver medallist Jerich Parzival called "Tribute to my Red Knight". The music is composed by Victor Kerkhof, former partner of Cees Slings who made so many nice Freestyles for Anky van Grunsven. When watching the Freestyle, the cheerful music almost makes you feel dancing on a market square with a lot of happy dancers around. Cornelissen uses Parzival's extraordinary expertise in canter pirouettes to full effect in this new Freestyle again. It flows easily and will surely make an excellent replacement for the former Tchaikovsky-themed test that brought them so much success.
However Helen Langehanenberg who already defeated Adelinde Cornelissen both at the qualifiers in Neumünster and Amsterdam will be eager to grab the win in the Final this time.
Langehanenberg also has a new Freestyle with her elegant Damon Hill and will do anything to let him shine. And never underestimate the compatriot of title defender Cornelissen, Edward Gal. He is showing his admirable educational skills to the advantage of his Olympic horse Glock's Undercover and made the win for Cornelissen already hard to get in the last qualifier in 's-Hertogenbosch. Holland will be represented by Marlies van Baalen and Miciano as well, showing their great jazzy Freestyle.
Swedish Patrik Kittel is eager to show the talents of his Scandic for the home crowd. Kittel says he has made some changes in his training and perhaps in his Freestyle to give himself the best chance in Sweden for the Final. Apart from Tinne Vilhelmsson, Minna Telde makes the third Swedish participant.
Unfortunately in March Patrik Kittel's wife Lyndal Oatley had to withdraw from participating in the WC Final due to a 'minor injury' of Sandro Boy. With Rozz Ryan and Maree Tomkinson unable to attend and Oatley and Sandro Boy the only Australian combination eligible for selection under the FEI rules, Australia will not have a representative at the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final in Sweden.
The American League will be represented by two Canadian competitors. Jacqueline Brooks and D Niro, are the other pair with the highest World Cup qualifying scores for the North American League. Brooks chose to not compete in the Champions Cup to give D Niro a rest. They decided as a team that if we get lucky and the stars align and we go to Sweden, then we have made the best plan for that, Brooks said.
No doubt it will rock again in the famous Scandinavium where music has be heard from Stones to Spears!
Winners dressage in six FEI World Cup Finals Dressage held in Gothenburg before:
1989 Gothenburg Margit Otto Crépin Corlandus FRA
1992 Gothenburg Isabell Werth Fabienne GER
1994 Gothenburg Monica Theodorescu Ganimedes GER
1996 Gothenburg Anky van Grunsven Bonfire NED
1998 Gothenburg Louise Nathhorst LRF Walk on Top SWE
2003 Gothenburg Debbie McDonald Brentina USA