Sensational Dutch partnership set Olympia alight......
Sensational Dutch partnership set Olympia alight......
"At Windsor we saw a new level in the sport and we wondered if we'd ever see it again, but to see it getting even better is unbelievable!" Stephen Clarke, Ground Jury President
The Netherlands' Edward Gal and Moorlands Totillas set a new world record in the Grand Prix Freestyle for the third time this year when scoring 92.30% to win the fourth leg of the FEI World Cup™ Dressage series at the Grand Hall at Olympia in London tonight. With another breath-taking performance that put him in an entirely different class to the rest of the 13-strong field, the nine year old stallion showed even more confidence than he displayed when taking Freestyle gold at the Alltech FEI European Championships at Windsor last August.
Stockholm winner Adelinde Cornelissen had a difficult evening with Parzival who was gripped with nervous tension and failed to give of his best, but this Dutch duo still held on for second place, while British hearts were lifted by a great third-spot finish for one of their all-time favourites, Carl Hester with Liebling 11.
The superlatives have already all been used up where Totillas and Gal are concerned. They created a huge sensation when de-throning long-time Freestyle record-holder Anky Van Grunsven with an amazing test at Hickstead in July where they scored 89.50%, and then came back to raise the bar even higher when taking the European title with a mark of 90.75%. They did that despite some irregular scores, but tonight the judges were very much in agreement about artistic merit - Gal and Totillas blended brilliantly with their musical accompaniment which perfectly compliments the stallion's enormous presence. It is the power with which he pumps off the floor in piaffe and passage that particularly distinguishes him along with his ease of elevation. He looks comfortable in his body even when executing the most difficult of movements.
Richard Davison led the first tranche of riders with a mark of 75.15% for Hiscox Artemis, but fellow-Briton Laura Bechtolsheimer overtook him when racking up 77.35% with a lovely ride on Andretti H. Hester however earned 78.45% for a really accurate performance when third-last into the arena. He was delighted with Liebling - "I didn't think he had much more to give me after Windsor so I'm really happy to put another 5% on my score from last night" he said.
In yesterday's Grand Prix his mark of 72.21% was good enough for third place, while Cornelissen and Gal were separated by just over two percentage points as Totillas again got the edge, but the difference between the latter two tonight was much more extreme. The moment Parzival entered the arena he was electrified with fear and Cornelissen did well to persuade him to go to work despite his obvious reservations. She is philosophical about his nervous nature, knowing that she must live for the days when he finds it possible to overcome it and show what he is truly capable of achieving. "Yesterday he was pretty good but I knew he was going to be a handful from the minute we came in the ring today. He was so spooky, but at least now he is getting better because he's willing to give it a try even though he's worried. There was a time when he'd just run out of the ring. I've been riding him for seven years now and its all about trust and confidence - you have to keep building him up" she pointed out. Her score of 82.05% was nevertheless still only just over one point below her winning result from the third leg of the FEI World Cup™ Dressage series in Stockholm two weeks ago.
Nerves are not something Gal has to battle with where Totillas is concerned. "He's always really relaxed, the only problem is that he gets distracted by things going on around him but he's not worried about them, just interested, and so sometimes loses his attention" the rider explained. He could feel how good the horse's work was tonight - "it just felt great" he said. "In the very beginning of his training he had trouble with the changes but once he learns something you don't have to keep going over it again and again, he remembers. It's all very easy for him and he learns very quickly" he explained after putting the record-breaking 92.30% on the board.
His plan for Totillas now is to compete at the FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final at s'Hertogenbosch in March and at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Kentucky later in the year "and that we both have fun while we are doing it!" he added. Tonight's result sees him share the league leaderboard with Cornelissen while Van Grunsven completes the Dutch dominance in third.
Ground Jury President, Stephen Clarke, was delighted with another record-breaking night - "the judges did a great job, they reacted to what they saw. Tonight Carl did his best Grand Prix ever, Adelinde coped really well in difficult circumstances and Edward left me speechless!" he said.
The next leg of the 2009/2010 FEI Dressage World Cup™ series takes place in Frankfurt, Germany next weekend.
1. Moorlands Totilas (Edward Gal) Ned 92.30%
2. Parzival (Adelinde Cornelissen) Ned 82.05%
3. Liebling 11 (Carl Hester) GBR 78.45%
4. Andretti H (Laura Bectolsheimer) GBR 77.35%
5. Hiscox Artemis (Richard Davison) GBR 75.15%
6. Cadillac (Catherine Haddad) USA 73.60%
7. Apollo van het Vijverhof (Jeroen Devroe) Bel 72.25%
8. Ovation (Christa Larakkers) Ned 72.20%
9. Louis d'Or (Henriette Andersen) GBR 70.20%
10. Mr President (Stephanie Croxford) GBR 69.70%
11. Whitni Star (Marc Boblet) Fra 69.65%
12. Fitzcerraldo (Judith Harvey) GBR 69.00%
13. Exquis Clearwater (Anne Van Olst) Den 67.85%.
FEI WORLD CUP™ DRESSAGE - STANDINGS AFTER FOURTH LEG AT OLYMPIA, LONDON:
1.Adelinde Cornelissen, Edward Gal - 35
3.Anky Van Grunsven - 34
4.Matthias Alexander Rath - 27
5.Jeanette Haazen, Aat Van Essen, Monica Theodorescu- 24
8.Hubertus Schmidt - 23
9.Tinne Vilhelmson - 20
10.Hans Peter Minderhoud, Peter Gmoser - 19
FACTS AND FIGURES
- Edward Gal and Moorlands Totillas set a new world record in the Grand Prix Freestyle for the third time this year when scoring 92.30% in tonight's competition.
- Each time Gal has re-set the target it has been on British soil - he first broke the record in Hickstead in July, then did it again at the Alltech FEI European Championships at Windsor in August and then at Olympia in London tonight.
- 13 riders started in today's Grand Prix Freestyle to Music
There were 5 from Great Britain, 3 from The Netherlands, and one each from Denmark, France, Belgium and the USA.
- Judge at E was M. Almasy (FRA); Judge at H was W. Markowski (POL); Judge at C was S. Clarke (GBR); Judge at M was I. Wessels (GBR) and Judge at B was K. Wuest (GER)
- The youngest horses in the competition were the 9 year olds Apollo van het Vijver ridden by Belgium's Jeroen Devroe and Moorlands Totilas ridden by The Netherlands' Edward Gal.
- The oldest horse in the class was the 15 year old Mr President ridden by Great Britain's Stephanie Croxford.
- Stephen Clarke, Ground Jury President - "At Windsor we saw a new level in the sport and we wondered if we'd ever see it again, but to see it getting even better is unbelievable!"
- Edward Gal, talking about his Master Class at Olympia with Sisther de Jeu "she is also a good horse but needs more time to settle in an arena like this - she is sometimes quite tense".
- Adelinde Cornelissen - "I never go into the ring to come second - I always try to do my best for myself and for Parzival".
- Carl Hester - "I'm aware of my horse's limitations and very happy with the scores he got - he's steadily improving all the time".
- Edward Gal, when asked if Totillas knows how good he is - "No, he's not spoiled that way, he's very easy-going. But he does like attention!"
Western European League Calendar 2009/2010:
1 Odense (DEN), 17 – 18 October
2 Lyon (FRA), 29 – 30 October
3 Stockholm (SWE), 28-29 November
4 London Olympia (GBR), 15-16 December
5 Frankfurt (GER), 19-20 December
6 Mechelen (BEL), 26-27 December
7 Amsterdam (NED), 22-23 January
8 Neumünster (GER), 20-21 February
9 Göteborg (SWE), 26-27 February
FINAL 's-Hertogenbosch (NED), 25-27 March
FEI World Cup™ Dressage, the only worldwide series in this discipline, has entered its 25th season. The series, created in 1985, comprises four leagues: Western European, Central European, North American (including Canada) and Pacific (Australia, New Zealand, Asia). Each FEI World Cup™ Dressage qualifier consists of a Grand Prix test, which in turn is a qualification for the Freestyle to music competition, where league points are accumulated towards places in the Final. Judged on both technical and artistic merit, the FEI World Cup™ Dressage combines art, sport and partnership between horse and rider at the highest level and consistently proves a winning formula with audiences all over the world.
Technical Note: The FEI World Cup Dressage™ Champion does not earn points in his/her starts but is automatically qualified to the next Final with two FEI World Cup™ Dressage qualifiers completed. Riders not belonging to the Western European League (WEL) or Central European League (CEL) cannot earn points in the WEL unless they have declared to compete in the WEL 2009/2010. These riders may however transfer the results from a maximum of three (3) WEL qualifiers to their own League. Points earned by CEL riders will be transferred to the CEL standings.
THE COMPLETE RULES CAN BE DOWNLOADED FROM www.feiworldcup.org
The Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI), founded in 1921, is the international body governing equestrian sport recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and includes 133 National Federations. Equestrian sport has been on the Olympic programme since 1912 with three disciplines - Jumping, Dressage and Eventing. It is one of the very few sports in which men and women compete on equal terms. It is also the only sport which involves two athletes - horse and rider. The FEI has relentlessly concerned itself with the welfare of the horse, which is paramount and must never be subordinated to competitive or commercial influences.