Dutch star, Edward Gal, made it a back-to-back double when coming out on top at the opening leg of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2015/2016 Western European League at Odense in Denmark today. Last season he rode to victory at this event with the gelding Glock’s Undercover, but this time around he triumphed with the stallion Glock’s Voice, pinning the host country’s Anna Kasprzak and Donnperignon into runner-up spot and Agnete Kirk Thinggaard and Jojo AZ into third.
The outcome was far from certain after Kasprzak won yesterday’s Grand Prix on a mark of 73.860. Gal was a close second on 73.380 while his fellow-countryman, Hans Peter Minderhoud, lined up third with Glock’s Romanov on 73.320. Sweden’s rising star, 28-year-old Emilie Nyrerod, filled fourth spot with Miata ahead of Kirk Thinggard in fifth. Perhaps the biggest turnaround in terms of finishing spots today was that of Ireland’s Judy Reynolds, who rocketed up from 12th of the 20 starters in the Grand Prix to fill fifth place at the end of the Freestyle.
The 33-year-old German-based Irish athlete was holding the lead on her score of 74.425 at the halfway stage of the competition. Her 13-year-old brown gelding has been showing ever-improving form as the pair have climbed up to 54th in the world rankings over the past year, and this was the first major show for Vancouver K since they just missed out on Olympic qualification at the FEI European Championships in Aachen in August. Reynolds remains determined to make the cut to Rio through any other possible route, and has planned a consistent campaign of the Reem Acra series over the coming months.
She was deeply disappointed with yesterday’s Grand Prix performance, and worked hard to turn that around. “The arena is very atmospheric and I was caught unawares when he backed off going into the corners. I was much better prepared for that reaction today", she explained after posting a mark of 74.425.
Her lead was overtaken by Nyrerod who was third into the arena after the break. The Swede has been making a significant impact this summer, earning high praise for her contribution to her country’s victory in their home leg of the FEI Nations Cup™ Dressage series at Falsterbo in July, before making another big impression at the Europeans in Aachen. Her score of 74.800 today moved her out in front until Kasprzak seriously raised the bar with a mark of 77.100. However the Danish rider knew her result left the door open for Gal.
“It wasn’t quite our day today. He (Donnperignon) was really good yesterday, but today he didn’t have the same feeling in the warm-up. We started well, but there were a couple of misunderstandings and it made him tight, which came out in the piaffe. I need to improve my choreography, I know that”, Kasprzak said.
When Kirk Thinggaard posted 76.250 with the lovely Jojo AZ who always makes his job look like a whole lot of fun, only Gal was left to threaten Kasprzak’s advantage, and in the end the Dutchman did it despite some difficult moments during the test.
“The atmosphere in the stands got to horse, and he wasn’t as smooth as he can be. Sometimes he reacts weirdly, but you know sometimes the weird horses are the good ones!” he pointed at the post-competition press conference. “With performances like that, sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose” he added, having clinched victory with a mark of 78.800.
For further information on the first leg of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2015/2016 Western European League series check out website jbkhorseshows.dk/DK.aspx
- Glock’s Voice (Edward Gal) NED 78.00
- Donnperignon (Anna Kazkprzak) DEN 77.100
- Jojo AZ (Agnete Kirk Thinggaard) DEN 76.250
- Miata (Emilie Nyrerod) SWE 74.800
- Vancouver K (Judy Reynolds) IRL 74.425
- Glock’s Romanov (Hans Peter Minderhoud) NED 74.350
- Blue Hors Hotline (Daniel Bachmann Andersen) DEN 73.750
- Batuta (Goncalo Carvalho) POR 73.000
- Di Lapponia T (Paulinda Friberg) SWE 72.200
- Radetzky (Marjan van der Jagt) NED 71.175
- Daintree 3 (Kathleen Keller) GER 70.800
- Fabienne (Nathalie Zu Sayn-Wittgenstein) DEN 69.925
- NOHS Daijoubo (Severo Jesus Jurado Lopez) ESP 69.475
- Rainbow Dancer 4 (Anne Lene Holmen) NOR 68.550
- Zircoon Spring Flower (Jennie Larsson) SWE 62.700.
Detailed result here
Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2015/2016 leaderboard: standings after Round 1 of the Western European League at Odense (DEN):
1. Inna Logutenkova UKR - 30
2. Alexandre Ayache FRA - 20
2. Marcela Krinke Susmejl SUI - 20
2. Ellen Schulten-Baumer GER - 20
2. Edward Gal NED - 20
6. Jennie Larsson SWE - 19
7. Matthias Bouten GER - 17
7. Anna Kasprzak DEN - 17
9. Ester Soldi ITA - 15
9. Anna von Wendt FIN - 15
9. Martin Christensen DEN - 15
9. Agnete Kirk Thinggaard DEN - 15