The Danish equestrian federation has announced that Cathrine Dufour and Atterupgaards Cassidy will not be getting an extra starting place at the 2018 World Cup Finals in Paris on 11 - 15 April 2018. However, the FEI disclosed that the extra starting places have not been allocated yet.
Dufour is Denmark's number one dressage combination and the third ranked pair on the FEI World Dressage Riders Ranking,
The Danish Equestrian Federation requested a wild card, or "extra starting place" as the FEI calls it, but they received word from the FEI that their request was declined because Dufour does not fulfill the criteria. International equestrian media immediately parroted this conclusion without asking questions.
When Eurodressage asked the Danish FN the reason for the rejection, their press officer stated "it must be the FEI and not us that explains the rules for (a) wild card and why they have declined our application." She also told Eurodressage, "her results do not fulfill the rules for wildcards."
Eurodressage then petitioned the FEI directly and they stated that the Danish Federation applied too soon in the process.
"It's just simply that the extra places and allocation process will be done following the last qualifier of the Western European League - so no decisions are being made right now," FEI's press officer Ruth Grundy told Eurodressage.
Grundy added Eurodressage that "the FEI Extra starting places will be allocated following the conclusion of the last Western European League in ‘s’Hertogenbosch. The Danish Equestrian Federation has been informed fully on this process and is aware of the situation."
Dufour rode two World Cup qualifiers this winter season, one in Herning on home turf in October and the February qualifier in Gothenburg, Sweden. While Dufour never intentionally aimed for the Finals as the WEG in Tryon is her goal of the year, her two victories in Herning and Gothenburg prompted her to ask for a wild card.
As a Western European League rider Dufour is not eligible for one of the two "extra starting places" available for the Finals.
The FEI rules about the two extra starting places reads:
The allocation of extra starting places will be decided as follows:
5.2.1 Permanently domiciled athletes who qualify in the League where they are domiciled (Art. 8, max one extra starting place)
5.2.2. One athlete from the host NF, if no host NF athlete is already qualified
5.2.3 If more starting places are available, these will be allocated to the athlete/horse combination(s) with the highest ranking (as a combination) on the February of the current year FEI World Dressage Ranking List, and who have participated in at least two (2) CDI-W.
The 2018 World Cup Finals in Paris will now become a show down between the world number one Isabell Werth on Weihegold and the U.S.A's strongest pair Laura Graves on Verdades. The other two top combinations in the world won't travel to Paris Dufour is not eligible to go and Sönke Rothenberger (with Cosmo) has never focused on the World Cup circuit. Cosmo has not been competed since the 2017 European Championships last August.
Photo © Astrid Appels
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