The Netherlands’ Adelinde Cornelissen and Jerich Parzival made a great start to the FEI World Cup Dressage final at the Brabanthallen in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands, on March 25 by winning the Grand Prix on a convincing margin of more than 2 percent.
It was a tense evening with nerves jangling, but she held her big strong gelding together to produce a powerful test that left her with a clear advantage over the firm favorites to take the title —Edward Gal and Moorlands Totilas.
The Dutch totally dominated the line-up in this preliminary competition when Imke Schellekens-Bartels and her lovely mare Hunter Douglas Sunrise claimed third place. It looks like someone from the Dutch squad is destined to win the freestyle on Saturday, but whether Cornelissen and Parzival can rise to the occasion again, or whether Gal and the record-breaking Totilas can re-find their true form and outdo all the rest remains to be seen.
If tonight’s result is anything to go by, then Saturday’s final is going to be a very close-fought affair.
It was Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven and the light-footed Favorit who held the lead at the halfway stage, and in this 10-year-old gelding the veteran Swedish Olympian seems to have found a promising replacement for her great old campaigner Solos Carex, who was retired in Gothenburg, Sweden, last month.
Her mark of 69.23 percent was quickly bettered by Germany’s Matthias Alexander Rath and Triviant however, who were first to go after the break and moved the target score to 70.42 percent with their level and accurate performance.
Denmark’s Nathalie zu Sayn Wittgenstein then raised the standard further by earning 71.19 percent with Digby, whose good passage, piaffe, canter zig-zag and square halt ensured a strong score, and the Danish Princess, who is competing at her final event for a while, as she is expecting her first baby to arrive in July, was glowing with satisfaction as she left the arena.
Despite an expressive test from Le Bo, Carola Koppelmann could only manage a mark of 68.63 percent having made a couple of mistakes, but fellow-German rider Isabell Werth steered the 14-year-old Warum Nicht to a mark of 73.27 percent to raise the bar even higher.
Schellekens-Bartels’ mare however was in the form of her life as she danced her way to a score of 74.89 percent in a test that was so pleasing to the eye and full of grace and elegance that Hunter Douglas Sunrise might almost have had a smile on her face as she happily left the arena knowing she had done a very good job indeed. This partnership finished second in the FEI World Cup Final in Las Vegas two years ago and will be ones to watch in the freestyle finale.
Gal and Moorlands Totilas however did not sparkle in their usual way, the weight of expectation perhaps feeling very heavy indeed after their record-breaking run over the past 12 months.
Gal came to ‘s-Hertogenbosch with the knowledge that every time he heads down centerline with “Toto,” he’s expected to produce even more magic than the time before. But tonight Gal appeared to have a battle on his hands as the stallion exploded into canter and never fully settled to his task.
However in passage and piaffe this horse is near perfection, even on an “off-day” like today, and his energy and elevation will always earn him a good score. Tonight that score of 76.80 percent temporarily took the lead, but it would not be enough to take the win.
There was great flow to the work produced by Sweden’s Patrik Kittel and Watermill Scandic for a mark of 72.08 percent, but this would only be good enough to secure fifth place in the final analysis.
Last to go in front of the home crowd was Cornelissen, whose chestnut gelding can sometimes be so ring-shy that he cannot give his best. But tonight she held him together, and his confidence seemed to grow all the greater as his huge movement, excellent piaffe and lovely active half-passes clocked up the good scores all the way through.
“Her horse was a little tense, but Adelinde had him on the bit to avoid mistakes, and she managed very well. It was a great result,” said dressage judge Wim Ernes.
Check out Catherine Haddad’s blog for an insider’s view on the World Cup class.
1. Jerich Parzival, Adelinde Cornelissen (NED) 78.85%
2. Moorlands Totilas, Edward Gal (NED) 76.80
3. Hunter Douglas Sunrise, Imke Schellekens Bartels (NED) 74.89
4. Warum Nicht FRH, Isabell Werth (GER) 73.31
5. Watermill Scandic HBC, Patrik Kittel (SWE) 72.08
6. Digby, Nathalie zu Sayn-Wittgenstein (DEN) 71.19
7. Triviant-UNICEF, Matthias Alexander Rath (GER) 70.51
8. Favorit, Tinne Vilelmson-Silfven (SWE) 69.23
9. Le Bo, Carola Koppelmann (GER) 68.63
10. Apollo Van Het Vijverhof, Jeroen Devroe (BEL) 68.25
11. Victory Salute, Brett Parbery (AUS) 67.02
12. Randon, Michal Rapcewicz (POL) 66.72
13. Ekwador, Katarzyna Milczarek (POL) 64.93
14. Cointreau, Peter Gmoser (AUT) 63.91
15. Samba, Luiza Almeida (BRA) 60.63
Full results may be found at www.indoorbrabant.com.