The top three spots secured by FEI World Cup Champions! Great Britain's Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro, reigning FEI World Cup™ Dressage Champions, wowed the crowd and the judges Thursday afternoon with their winning performance in the FEI Grand Prix competition at the 2015 Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final. Their superb test earned the pair a score of 85.414% to clinch the top spot, along with wild cheers and a standing ovation from the 7,344 spectators that filled the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. Dujardin and Valegro are the only duo in the history of the sport of dressage to hold Olympic, World, European and World Cup titles simultaneously, as well as all three world records. Twelfth to go in Grand Prix starting order, the pair kept their cool and executed their test like seasoned professionals, which earned them seventeen perfect-10's for movements throughout their performance, and the number one position from all seven judges. "I was really, really happy today," said Dujardin. "He's had a long trip to get here and for the past few days he hasn't really felt like himself, so I was a little bit worried yesterday. Luckily today it hasn't been so hot so he managed to cope better today."
"I had a great ride," continued the defending Champion. "I was really happy with the test. I think the first part took me a little bit to get into, but then the canter work felt really good. I enjoyed it and the crowd was great!"
Edward Gal of The Netherlands had a fantastic performance aboard his 2012 Olympic mount Glock's Undercover N.O.P., scoring 79.057% to finish in second place. This is the pair's third FEI World Cup™ Final together, and Gal is looking to reclaim the World Cup™ title he won in 2010 with the famed black stallion Totilas.
"I feel great and it was really good!" said Gal. "Glock's Undercover felt a little bit tense at some parts, and I had some mistakes which was a pity, but still I was really pleased with him, especially after three days off after quarantine. He reacted really well with the audience so I was really happy."
Steffen Peters of the U.S., who won the FEI World Cup™ Dressage title in 2009 when the Final was last held in the U.S., took third place with Legolas 92, the horse he competed at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Caen, France. Their test earned cheers and another standing ovation from the crowd, and Peters was obviously thrilled with their performance as he grinned from ear-to-ear, and even gave the air a 'fist-pump' after his final salute.
"It's so exciting!" said Peters. "I can guarantee you that I'm probably even more excited than the two of them put together," said Peters with a laugh referring to Gal and Dujardin. "First of all, I'm so proud of Legolas. It's been a very long, difficult and challenging way to prepare for this and I'm so glad it worked out," said the three-time Olympian who played an audio tape of crowd noises whenever he schooled Legolas at home during both morning and evening sessions to prepare him for the atmosphere at the Thomas & Mack Center.
The scores from the Grand Prix do not carry forward. As all the riders received scores above 60%, they will all move forward to compete in Saturday's FEI Grand Prix Freestyle to Music competition, which will ultimately determine the Champion of the 2015 Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Final.
Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Grand Prix Results:
1. Charlotte Dujardin (GBR) - Valegro - 85.414%
2. Edward Gal (NED) - Glock's Undercover N.O.P. 79.057%
3. Steffen Peters (USA) - Legolas 92 - 76.843%
4. Jessica von Bredow-Werndl (GER) - Unee BB - 74.843%
5. Laura Graves (USA) - Verdades - 74.314%
6. Morgan Barbancon Mestre (ESP) - Painted Black - 73.786%
7. Hans Peter Minderhoud (NED) - Glock's Flirt - 73.657%
8. Isabell Werth (GER) El Santo NRW - 72.843%
9. Paulinda Friberg (SWE) - Di Lapponia T - 72.686%
10. Inessa Merkulova (RUS) - Mister X - 71.343%
11. Fabienne Lutkemeier (GER) - Qui Vincit Dynamis - 70.857%
12. Mikala Munter Gundersen (DEN) - My Lady - 70.414%
13. Terhi Stegars (FIN) - Axis TSF - 69.871%
14. Lars Petersen (DEN) - Mariett - 69.329%
15. Malin Hamilton (SWE) - Fleetwood - 68.071%
16. Agnete Kirk Thinggaard (DEN) - Jojo AZ - 67.986%
17. Elena Sidneva (RUS) - Romeo-Star - 67.014%
18. Tatiana Dorofeeva (RUS) - Kartsevo Upperville - 66.971%
The 2015 FEI World Cup™ Finals features both the Reem Acra FEI World CupTM Dressage Final and the LONGINES FEI World CupTM Jumping Final. The FEI World Cup™ Finals has returned to the United States for the first time since 2009, and provides a unique opportunity to witness the world's best horses and riders in both show jumping and dressage competing under one roof at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.
The Reem Acra FEI World CupTM Dressage Final includes Thursday afternoon's Grand Prix and Saturday afternoon's Grand Prix Freestyle as well as the Las Vegas Dressage Showcase on Friday.
The LONGINES FEI World CupTM Jumping Final includes Thursday evening's one-round speed class, Friday evening's jump-off class and Sunday afternoon's two-round Final, as well as Saturday evening's $75,000 Canadian Pacific Grand Prix of Las Vegas.
Spectators have the opportunity to experience the heated competition featuring world-renowned horses and riders while also enjoying the entertainment that has given Las Vegas its worldwide reputation. From laser light shows to acrobats to fireworks and Vegas show girls, this event dazzles from start to finish.
VIP guests of the FEI World Cup™ Finals are being treated to top amenities that can't be duplicated anywhere else in the world at the Taylor Harris Club presented by The National Horse Show. The Taylor Harris Club includes a private VIP hospitality area complete with deluxe food and beverages as well as VIP preferred parking.
Started in 1979, the FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final is an annual international showdown among the world's best show jumping horses and riders. In the 36 Finals held through 2014, Germany (10) and the United States (9) have emerged with the most titles, having won the championship nineteen times between them. Previous FEI World Cup™ Jumping Finals held in the United States include Baltimore (1980), Tampa (1989), Del Mar, CA (1992) and Las Vegas (2000, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009).
First held in 1986, the FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final features the world's best dressage horses and riders. The United States has won the championship twice - in 2003 (Debbie McDonald with Brentina) and 2009 (Steffen Peters with Ravel). The Final has been held in the U.S. in Los Angeles (1995) and Las Vegas (2005, 2007, 2009).
Las Vegas Events is a private, not-for-profit organization that serves as the exclusive major special events agency for the city. Founded in 1982, LVE is funded by hotel room tax. Through its Signature Event initiative, LVE has created a model to integrate all elements of special events and formally improve communication between event producers and Las Vegas' hotel properties and sponsors. Since 1991, Las Vegas Events has produced, presented or supported more than 600 events.
For further information, please visit the World Cup's website at www.WorldCupLasVegas.com.