2016 World Cup Finals Set to Begin on 25 March 2016 with Grand Prix

Fri, 03/25/2016 - 10:30
2016 World Cup Finals

There is huge excitement ahead of the 2016 World Cup Dressage Finals which get underway at the Scandinavium Arena in Gothenburg, Sweden on Friday 25 March 2016. After a long and testing qualifying season, a total of 18 competitors from 10 countries will be contesting the World Cup Dressage crown.

And both the dressage and show jumping Finals are ground-breaking, as Zhiwen (Daniel) Zhao will be the very first athlete to represent China in the Jumping Final while Judy Reynolds will be the first rider to fly the Irish flag in Dressage.

40th anniversary

Gothenburg Horse Show celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, and as the venue for the very first World Cup Jumping Final back in 1979 it is a city that holds a very special place in the hearts of the athletes. It is also a very special venue for FEI First Vice-President John Madden who spoke tonight of his personal connection to the city and its world-famous Horse Show.
“I came here as a groom for the very first World Cup Final back in 1979, working for Katie Monahan who finished second. And the last time the Final was held in Gothenburg (2013) I was the husband of the winning rider, Beezie Madden! Sweden, and Gothenburg, is a like a second home” he said. 

Dressage gets things off to a start tomorrow, with Denmark’s Agnete Kirk Thinggaard and JoJo Az first to ride down the centre line at 12.30 local time. At tonight’s stylish draw party staged in Gothenburg’s Concert Hall, the Dressage draw was conducted by Swedish star Patrik Kittel and his wife Lyndal Oatley who will represent Australia over the coming days. And Kittel had the broadest of smiles when he called out his own name out for the optimal no. 18 spot. Last to go, he will know exactly the score he has to beat when he takes his turn at 15.35.

And that score may well be the one laid down by The Netherlands’ Hans Peter Minderhoud who recently concluded the Western European League on a winning note. “My horse (Flirt) is feeling very good, he won the last qualifier in Den Bosch and had a few days off. This is an amazing show in Gothenburg, you always want to be at your best at the World Cup Final and my horse is in great shape” he explained. Asked what it would mean to take the title on Sunday he responded, “I don’t want to think about it, although I’m really going for it! It’s very exciting because there are several riders good enough to take the victory here, so I think it will be about the form on the day” he said.
Facts and Figures:
A total of 18 horses were presented at the first veterinary inspection yesterday and all were passed fit to compete.
Competitors from 10 nations - Australia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Sweden and Switzerland - are taking part.
The first competition, the Grand Prix, takes place on Friday 25 March, beginning at 12.30 local time.
The new champion will be crowned following the second competition, the Grand Prix Freestyle, which take place at 1.00 pm on Sunday 27 March.
Total prizemoney for the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2016 Final is €250,000.
The Ground Jury consists of Gustav Svalling (SWE) President, Susanne Baarup (DEN),  Evi Eisenhardt (GER), Anne Gribbons (USA), Susan Hoevenaars (AUS), Irina Maknami (RUS), Mariette Sanders van Gansewinkel (NED) Reserve 1, Jean-Michel Roudier (FRA).
Foreign Technical Delegate, Jennie Loriston-Clarke (GBR), Chief Steward Geir Madland (NOR).
The Judges Supervisory Panel consists of Uwe Mechlem (GER) Henk van Bergen (NED) Linda Zang (USA)
Denmark’s Anne-Grethe Jensen was the first winner of the World Cup™ Dressage Final. Riding Marzog, she pinned Great Britain’s Christopher Bartle and Wily Trout into runner-up spot while Switzerland’s Christine Stuckelberger finished third with Rubelit von Unkelruf at the inaugural event in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands in 1986.
The World Cup™ Dressage 2014 and 2015 champions, Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro from Great Britain, will not defend their title this year.
This is the 31st World Cup™ Dressage Final.
The startlists for tomorrow’s first leg of each event can be found here
Timetable for World Cup™ Finals 2016:

Friday March 25:    Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage Grand Prix - 12.30
Sunday March 27:  Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage Freestyle Final - 13.00

by Louise Parkes for the FEI - Photo © Lizz Gregg

Related Link
Eurodressage Coverage of the 2015-2016 World Cup circuit