British Olympian Emile Faurie blew away the competition in the Grand Prix for Special at the brand new 3* CDI hosted on the legendary Aachen show grounds on Tuesday 17 April 2018. Making his CDI debut on his newest ride, Hof Kasselmann's Dono Di Maggio, Faurie stayed three percent ahead of the competition with a safe ride that left many more points for the taking.
Franz-Josef and Renate Dahmen are the show hosts for this brand new outdoor CDI 3* in Aachen after already running a successful indoor version for youth riders last December. Blessed with the most gorgeous, sunny spring weather, all conditions were optimal for a stellar three-day show. With no spectators there, no advertisement on the walls and no beehive business around the warm-up, riders were able to prepare their horses in a very serene, peaceful atmosphere.
The CDI boasted a highly interesting field of competitors with many new comers, a big Asian delegation that is preparing for 2020 Tokyo, and some come back kids. The newbies ruled the roost as Faurie and his GP debutant horse Dono di Maggio won the Grand Prix for Special, while Finnish Henri Ruoste and his first-timer Roccobar claimed the Grand Prix for Freestyle.
Dono Di Maggio Has the World at its Feet
Emile Faurie last represented Great Britain at the 2017 European Championships in Gothenburg on Lollipop, but since this winter he has certainly attracted the interest of the selectors with top scores aboard Elena Knyaginicheva's 14-year old Hanoverian stallion Delatio (by De Niro x Rubinstein). The pair finished second at the 2017 CDI-W London and qualified for the World Cup Finals. Unfortunately they had to withdraw days before Paris as Delatio sustained a minor injury.
However there is no rest for the weary. Faurie has a third Grand Prix horse to ride thanks to his collaboration with Hof Kasselmann, and it's probably the best one of the lot: Dono di Maggio. The 11-year old Oldenburg gelding by Dimaggio x Santander H has a piaffe and passage that cannot but put 9s (or even 10s) on the board. In the Aachen Grand Prix for Special, Dono showed off his quality, talent and potential in those movements. The trot half passes still need to be more elastic and in the trot extensions the chestnut can swing more, even though he achieved good overtrack. Faurie made a big mistake in the one tempi changes or the score would have been higher.
The panel of judges, which included Alonso, Nivelle, Fouarge, Verbeek, and Stukelj, rewarded the test with a winning 73.283%. Alonso had the pair at 76.087%, which says enough for the future. Team Great Britain seems to have ample choice this year for a strong WEG team.
Boogie Woogie Boogiewoogies Again
After a World Cup qualification campaign in Australia, multiple Olympian Mary Hanna returned to Europe in February with two Grand Prix horses: Calanta and Boogie Woogie. Both horses have struggled to find their stride on European soil. Boogie Woogie underwhelmed at the CDI Lier and Calanta was very tense in the electric indoor atmosphere in Den Bosch. A farrier issue then prevented the mare from going to the 2018 World Cup Finals in Paris.
At the CDI Aachen, Hanna competed her 2016 Rio ride Boogie Woogie, a 12-year old KWPN gelding by Du Moulin x Florett As, and with coach Patrik Kittel on the sideline the pair was back to its old form. The passage was bouncy, the piaffe on the spot and on the hindleg, although in the second piaffe the horse lost the forward tendency a bit. Some of the flying changes were rushed and Hanna was restless with her hands, which led to a mistake in the one tempi changes. They finished on 70.348% for second place.
Verliefden and Indoctro Are Back
Belgian Fanny Verliefden had a peculiar season in 2017 on her talented 10-year old Belgian warmblood stallion Indoctro van de Steenblok (by Rubin Royal). They made a stellar international debut at the 2017 CDI Saumur, scoring 72.980% in the Grand Prix. They were then disqualified after the Grand Prix at the CDIO Compiègne as the Belgian federation had wrongfully entered a combination that had not yet obtained the CDIO qualification standard. At the 2017 CDIO Rotterdam they were unable to score like in Saumur, but with a 69.440% in the Grand Prix they qualified on the Belgian team for the 2017 European Championships. Unfortunately they were forced to stay home due to a minor injury.
Eight months later, Indoctro is back and scored 70.109% to finish third in the Grand Prix. There was a small lapse in the rhythm in the first trot extension, but the ground cover and lengthening of the frame were good. The passage was bouncy and the piaffe had a nice rhythm but the Totilas lookalike dropped behind the vertical in them. The extended walk was good. In the exit of the pirouettes he lost a bit of the balance. Overall Verliefden rode the horse with much concentration, in a quiet way. The young Grand Prix horse needs to develop more self carriage to score higher.
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Scores 2018 CDI Aachen