Cornelissen and Parzival Make it a Double at Olympia, Haddad Forges Ahead in the Rankings
The Netherlands' Adelinde Cornelissen and Parzival secured a second resounding victory in the 2010/2011 World Cup Dressage series when heading the line-up at the fourth leg at Olympia in London, Great Britain, tonight. The exciting atmosphere in the packed Grand Hall tested some of the equine competitor's nerve-endings to the limit, but the Dutch duo rose to the challenge to create what Ground Jury President, Andrew Gardner of Great Britain, described as "a very whole picture - it was very complete with no issues, and there was brilliance in this test!" he said afterwards.
Laura Bechtolsheimer, who pipped Cornelissen in yesterday's preliminary Grand Prix with a new British record score, had to settle for runner-up spot this time out with Mistral Hojris while Dutch star Edward Gal finished third riding Sisther de Jeu. America's Catherine Haddad lined up fourth following a great performance from her 10 year old Winyamaro, and subsequently shot to the top of the leaderboard ahead of next Sunday's leg in Frankfurt, Germany. And the host nation representatives revelled in the opportunity of performing in world-class company. On her series debut, Amy Stovold steered Macbrian into fifth ahead of British veteran Richard Davison in sixth and Davison has now moved into second spot on the leaderboard while today's success has promoted Cornelissen to third, and pushed early-season leader Isabell Werth from Germany down to fourth.
HELD THE ADVANTAGE
It was Britain's Henriette Andersen who held the advantage at the break after the first seven of the 15 starters had competed. The Danish-born rider's big, powerful bay gelding, Louis D'Or, showed great quality in his elevated movements, and their brave and forward test was rewarded with a mark of 71.350. There were two other British eye-catchers in the early stages - Anna Ross-Davies' 13 year old Pegasus MK showing great enthusiasm for his job as he strutted home with a score of 70.350, while Judith Harvey's 12 year old Fitzcerraldo was super-cool as he put 69.750 on the board.
It wasn't such a happy evening for Emile Faurie and Elmegardens Marquis however. The 11 year old gelding was electrified with excitement from the moment he entered the arena and, despite his rider's every effort, he simply wouldn't settle so the British partnership wisely retired.
Stephanie Croxford and Mr President slotted temporarily into second place with a score of 70.750 as the action re-started but fellow-Briton, Davison, and Hiscox Artemis immediately bettered that with 73.750. However the real battle was fought between the final four.
ROCKETED INTO LEAD
Bechtolsheimer rocketed into the lead with a score of 80.050 when fourth-last to go, but said afterwards that Mistral Hojris is "not made for the World Cup and the indoor atmosphere". The 15 year old chestnut, who claimed three silver medals for his British rider at the World Equestrian Games" just a few short months ago, produced some wonderful moments but went into reverse in the middle of his test when temporarily overwhelmed by the occasion. "It was a little bit tricky for Alf (Mistral Hojris)" she explained afterwards. "He did some fantastic work, but there were a couple of things that would have brought the marks down. He was not as attentive, and the relaxation was missing" she pointed out.
She was still out in front however after Gal and Sisther de Jeu returned a score of 77.050 following a test that combined huge tension with some fabulous flamboyance, and Catherine Haddad's 74.800 with Winyamaro, who swaggered around the arena with an extraordinary degree of confidence for such a young horse. But Cornelissen and Parzival were clearly in the driving seat as they produced one great movement after another to clinch top marks from all five judges. With 83.650 on the scoreboard it was an even crisper and cleaner victory than the one they recorded at the previous leg in Stockholm, Sweden just over two weeks ago.
"It was definitely one of the mot relaxed freestyles he's done this year" Cornelissen said afterwards, but admitted, "I had a good draw with Laura before me!" Bechtosheimer said "you can afford the odd mistake in a Freestyle because you can re-do things if you have a little mistake" but that, after completing her test, she was "fairly sure it wouldn't be enough to beat Adelinde tonight". The British rider also pointed out that there was a big difference in the atmosphere in the arena this evening. "It was quite quiet last night, but completely different tonight - it was pretty electric in there, although that's what makes it Olympia!" she pointed out, adding that she does not have "big plans" for further participation in the series - "I'll be concentrating on the youngsters at home" she explained.
Jury President, Andrew Gardner, said "it's a privilege to judge horses of this calibre and at Olympia everything combines to make a great atmosphere - but that comes at a price in creating tension for some horses" he added. He described the winning test. "It was like a dance performance, showing tremendous athleticism. Parzival eats up the arena in his half-passes and extensions and I found the music very attractive" he said.
Cornelissen now has the Dutch legs of the 2010/2011 Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage series at Amsterdam in January and 's-Hertogenbosch next March on her agenda as she marches towards the final in Leipzig next April with her fabulous chestnut gelding who suffered unfortunate elimination at the world championships in Kentucky a few short months ago. She has put that behind her now however, and has re-focused on her greatest ambition. "I've always been determined to show how good Parzival is, and I still am!" she said with conviction tonight.
Facts and Figures:
This was a back-to-back win for The Netherlands' Adelinde Cornelissen and Parzival who also topped the third leg of the 2010/2011 Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage series in Stockholm, Sweden just over two weeks ago.
Tonight's runner-up, Laura Bechtolsheimer, beat her own British record in the Grand Prix with her winning score of 82.94% yesterday.
Bechtolsheimer previously held the British record with a score of 82.511%.
The oldest horse in tonight's Grand Prix Freestyle to Music was the 16 year old gelding Mr President, ridden by Great Britain's Stephanie Croxford.
The youngest was the 10 year old chestnut Winyamaro ridden by America's Catherine Haddad which finished fourth tonight.
Olympia presented the fourth qualifying round of the 2010/2011 Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage series.
Six further qualifiers will be staged before the final takes place in Leipzig, Germany from 27 April to 1 May 2011
The Ground Jury for tonight's competition consisted of : At E - V. Mandli (AUT); At H - K. Wuest (GER); At C - A. Gardner (GBR); At M - I. Wessels (GBR); At B - M. Almasy FRA.
Lisa Wells, Director of Special Events, Reem Acra - "I'm so touched by how beautiful and welcoming everyone is here at Olympia and it is wonderful to be part of such a glorious evening as this. The calibre of the competition is top notch - it has been thrilling!"
Edward Gal - "Sisther can be quite difficult in an arena like this, she can be a bit tense, but I was happy with her today. I know she can do better, much better, when she settles down".
Adellinde Cornelissen - "I have this Freestyle since the World Cup Finals this year but I've only ridden it five or six times".
Photos © Caroline Finch - Order photos through Caroline's website
Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage - Standings after Round 4 at Olympia (GBR):
- 1. Catherine Haddad USA - 54
- 2. Richard Davison GBR - 44
- 3. Adelinde Cornelissen NED - 43
- 4. Isabell Werth GER - 40
- 5. Ulla Salzgeber GER - 37
- 6. Christa Laarakkers NED - 33
- 7. Nina Hoffmann SWE - 29
- 8. Aat Van Essen NED - 26
- 8. Hans Peter Minderhoud NED - 26
- 10. Helen Langehanenberg GER - 25
- 11. Ulrike Prunthaller AUT - 24
- 12. Mikaela Lindh FIN - 23
- 12. Anna Luise Ross Davies GBR - 23
- 14. Heike Kemmer GER - 21
- 14. Sylvia Zimmer GER - 21
- 16. Sune Hansen DEN - 19
- 17. Nathalie Zu Sayn-Wittgenstein DEN- 17
- 17. Anky Van Grunsven NED - 17
- 17. Laura Bechtolsheimer GBR - 17
- 17. Peter Gmoser AUT - 17
-- by Louise Parkes - FEI Press release