Popular Dutch dressage rider Edward Gal and the young 9-year old Danish warmblood stallion Zonik scored 76.68% to secure the win in the opening Grand Prix class at the 2017 CDI-W London Olympia International Horse Show in London, Great Britain, on Tuesday 12 December 2017.
The win made a cold, slow journey from The Netherlands, that was beset by delays caused by the wintery weather, worthwhile. It was also an impressive display of horsemanship from Gal and talent from the expressive Zonik, who was competing in just his third ever international Grand Prix show, and now has his fourth Grand Prix level win on his CV.
“The journey here was really no fun at all,” said Gal, a winner of the World Cup qualifier at Olympia in 2009 with the record breaking Totilas, before going on to win the World Cup Final later that year. “We left home at 6am on Sunday and finally arrived in London at 6pm on Monday evening, but this win makes up for all that. I was really happy with Zonik especially as it was his first time in such a big atmospheric arena – this is really promising for the future.”
Swedish Olympian Patrik Kittel, who also endured a marathon journey to London, came a close second with the Oldenburg gelding Delaunay (75.10%). The pair performed a well presented and confident error free test. “I am very happy to be here for the second time,” said Kittel. “London is such a great show.”
Olympia debutant Madeleine Witte-Vrees from The Netherlands was third with the bright chestnut Cennin (73.72%), with whom she made her senior championship team debut in this year’s Europeans, while Emile Faurie and Delatio (72.86%) were the highest placed British combination. It was an impressive competitive Grand Prix debut for the pair, who have only been together for two months.
“Tonight’s Grand Prix was quite a challenge for the judges,” said Stephen Clarke President of the Ground Jury. “They were many good combinations, some exciting expressive horses and scores that were close together.”
Fifteen combinations will go forward to Wednesday night’s World Cup Dressage Freestyle to Music supported by Horse & Hound, one of the highlights of the British Dressage calendar.
Scores 2017 CDI-W London