Australia has a new dressage champion this evening after Sheridyn Ashwood won the Grand Prix Special at today's Saddleworld Australian Dressage Championships. Having already claimed the reserve champion ribbons in the Grand Prix and Freestyle, the overall title was Ashwood's for the taking after the winner of the Grand Prix, Maree Tomkinson, and overnight Freestyle winner, Mary Hanna, did not start in Sunday's Special. To determine the champion, standings from the Grand Prix are combined with a combination's best standing from either the Freestlye or Special. In today's Special Ashwood and her KWPN stallion Prestige VDL were ranked first by each of the judges, who combined to give her a score of 69.13. Heath Ryan and Regardez Moi scored 68.23 for second while Sue Hearn and Remmington snared a top three placing with a score of 66.04.
The Sydney International Equestrian Centre has once again proven to be a favourable venue for Queensland based Ashwood who returns home with another significant accolade after winning the Grand Prix, Freestlye and Special here in May at the prestigious Sydney CDI3*. For Ashwood and leading dressage riders the focus is now on next month's Be the Influence Equestrian Grand Final which will take place at EQUITANA Sydney on Saturday 9 November.
After yesterday's night Freestyle Four-time Olympian Mary Hanna emerged as a contender for the title of Australian Dressage Champion. She was the winner of the Grand Prix Freestyle overnight at the Saddleworld Australian Dressage Championships. Hanna and her London Olympic mount Sancette were sixth in Friday's Grand Prix and they bounced back from a sluggish start to this event to produce a superior performance in Saturday night's showcase event which was rewarded by the judges with a score of 70.85.
The four-time Olympian and five time Australian Dressage Champion was pleased with her mount's performance considering he's only just come back into work. "He's not so fit as he hasn't been back in work so long, we almost didn't make the trip, but he was telling me that he wanted to, so here we are."
"He wasn't at his best at Grand Prix", she continued, "but I was absolutely thrilled with him in the Freestyle and I'm really looking forward to him improving even further," she said.
The last time that many of these combinations gathered at the indoor arena of the Sydney International Equestrian Centre was at the Sydney CDI where Queensland rider Sheridyn Ashwood was a dominating force. This venue continues to be a happy hunting ground for Ashwood who backed up her second place in Friday's Grand Prix with a second place in the Freestyle.
The battle between husband and wife duo Heath and Rozzie Ryan was as close as it could get with Heath nudging out wife Rozzie by the slenderest of margins. Heath finishing on a score of 69.55, just ahead of Rozzie on 69.50.
Last year's champion Maree Tomkinson received a score of 68.15 for her test which saw her finish the event in 5th place.
The title of Australian Dressage Champion will come down to the wire with all eyes now focused on Sunday's Grand Prix Special which will prove decisive in determining who reigns supreme.
Find the mentioned CDI Sydney results and much more at our website as well.