NEWS FROM THE FEI WORLD CUPTM DRESSAGE
Mechelen (Bel), 27 December 2009
IMKE AND SUNRISE PRODUCE THE MAGIC AGAIN IN MECHELEN
Dutch rider Imke Schellekens-Bartels made it a back-to-back double of victories in the 2009/2010 FEI World CupTM Dressage series when heading the line-up with Hunter Douglas Sunrise at Mechelen in Belgium again this evening. Just seven days ago the same partnership claimed the honours in Frankfurt, and today they were still full of Christmas sparkle when holding multiple-champion Isabell Werth from Germany back in second place with Warum Nicht, while The Netherlands' Jeannette Haazen and Nartan slotted into third.
This latest result, achieved on only her second outing in the current series, rockets Schellekens-Bartels up to third place on the league table with a total of 40 points and leaves her just one point behind her fellow-countrywoman Adelinde Cornelissen who, despite a disappointing day today, now shares the top-spot with Germany's Monica Theodorescu on a score of 41.
Schellekens-Bartels knows, however, that she cannot afford to rest on her laurels. "Only three Dutch riders will be allowed to compete in the Final at Den Bosch" she said this evening, "so we all really have to fight hard for the marks and to take a place at the Final".
Even today's winner was feeling sorry for Adelinde Cornelissen who went into the competition as firm favourite having won yesterday's Grand Prix with a very nice test from Parzival. Luck was just not on her side today however, because the big chestnut gelding put his tongue over the bit when she brought him back to walk halfway through the test and even though she managed to produce some very nice work from him the partnership was severely marked as a result to finish in 11th place. Dutch Ground Jury member, Jan Peeters, said afterwards "that's the sport. Adelinde did all the right things when it happened but she had to lose marks" he pointed out.
Isabell Werth was heading the leaderboard with just two riders left to go, the German rider looking fit and well only a few weeks after the birth of her baby boy. She earned a mark of 81.54% with Warum Nicht but she felt that she had ridden a better test in yesterday's Grand Prix - "I made some canter mistakes today, they were my fault" she insisted, but she was very happy to be back in action and so competitive in her first serious outing since the baby's arrival. Werth was still riding her horses two weeks before giving birth and was very quickly back in the saddle afterwards. "In all I was not riding for about four weeks and I couldn't wait to start again - I have to ride - it's an addiction!" she said, although her motherly instincts kicked in quickly both yesterday and today as she rushed off after the competition to get back to baby Frederik.
Her good mark was bettered however by a lovely performance from Schellekens-Bartels who knew she was going well from the moment she entered the arena. "My mare was even a bit sharper - in a good way - than she was last week. There were so many good riders and good horses here today, I thought to be honest that I would be doing well to be in the top three, especially since Isabell is back, but I was a bit sharper myself too!" she added. She found herself and her horse perfectly synchronised with the music - "the canterwork was amazing, every step fitted the music and it felt great!" she pointed out, and the spectators agreed as they thoroughly appreciated what they witnessed.
The good work was not all over yet however as another of the four-strong Dutch contingent, Jeannette Haazen, was last to go and she too produced a lovely performance from Nartan to slot into third behind Werth. Haazen was lucky to be there at all because she lives in Maaseik in the north of Belgium and was unable to exercise her horses and unable to drive her horsebox following heavy snowfall earlier in the week. She has found it impossible to get planning permission for an indoor arena at her farm and so must work her horses outside in all weathers, and the snowstorm put at stop to that while her horse-lorry could not cope with the snowdrifts. She left for Mechelen two days behind schedule, so her result today is all the more creditable.
A WHOLE LOT OF EFFORT
The show itself was severely affected by the weather conditions currently causing chaos throughout Europe. Last Monday almost 80% of the tents at the showground buckled under the weight of the snow and it took two days, an extra 66 workers, and a whole of lot effort to ensure the fixture went ahead, which it has done extremely successfully.
None of that was bothering Schellekens-Bartels this evening however. She has accomplished the mission she set out for herself and is now well on her way to a place in the final line-up for the FEI World CupTM Dressage series in March. So tonight she was returning to her family who are never happy for her to be away during the Christmas season but with whom she is now planning a big New Year's Eve party - "yes, and we will have plenty to celebrate" she said, "its been a great week for myself and my horse!".
Imke Schellekens-Bartels and Hunter Douglas Sunrise (Ned) made it a back-to-back double of victories in the 2009/2010 FEI World CupTM Dressage series when heading the line-up for the second time in seven days at Mechelen in Belgium this evening. PHOTO: Hippo Foto/Dirk Caremans.
RESULT: 1, Hunter Douglas Sunrise (Imke Schellekens-Bartels) Ned 82.20%; 2, Warum Nicht FRH (Isabell Werth) Ger 81.85%; 3, Nartan (Jeannette Haazen) Ned 77.85%; 4, Le Bo (Carola Koppelman) Ger 75.85%; 5, Apollo Van Het Vijvershof (Jeroen Devroe) Bel 74.60%; 6, Watermill Scandic HBC (Patrik Kittel) Swe 73.85%: 7, Cadillac (Catherine Haddad) USA 71.40%; 8, Lemarc WRT (Sabine Becker) Ger 70.40%; 9, Premier (Aat Van Esssen) Ned 68.95%; 10, Le Beau (Philippe Jorissen) Bel 68.80%; 11, Parzival (Adelinde Cornelissen) Ned 68.80%; 12, Fryso Huys Cas (Marc Peter Spahn) Bel 66.50%; 13, Willibald's Don Giovanni (Isabella Willibald) Aut 65.05%; 14, FS Louis Le Bon (Jana Freund) Ger 64.95%; 15, Ostra (Claudia Fassaert) Bel 62.55%.
2009/2010 FEI WORLD CUPTM DRESSAGE - STANDINGS after Round 6 at Mechelen (Bel) - Provisional
1. Adelinde Cornelissen, Monica Theordorescu - 41
3. Imke Schellekens-Bartels - 40
4. Jeanette Haazen - 39
5. Edward Gal, Matthias Alexander Rath - 35
7. Anky Van Grunsven - 34
8. Aat Van Essen - 32
9. Hubertus Schmidt - 27
10. Patrik Kittel - 26
Full standings at http://www.scg-nl.nl/
FACTS AND FIGURES:
This was the second successive win in the current series for Imke Schellekens-Bartels and Hunter Douglas Sunrise who previously topped the line-up in Frankfurt seven days ago.
15 riders competed in today's competition
There were 4 riders each from The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany, and one each from Sweden, Austria and the USA.
Jan Peeters, Ground Jury - "the level today was very high - yesterday we thought that nobody could beat Adelinde but in sport so often things happen that you just cannot anticipate"
Imke Schellekens-Bartels - "this show happens right in the middle of Christmas but even though it takes me away from my family I enjoy it very much - its a great show with a great atmosphere".
Western European League Calendar 2009/2010:
1 Odense (DEN), 17 - 18 October
2 Lyon (FRA), 29 - 30 October
3 Stockholm (SWE), 28-29 November
4 London Olympia (GBR), 15-16 December
5 Frankfurt (GER), 19-20 December
6 Mechelen (BEL), 26-27 December
7 Amsterdam (NED), 22-23 January
8 Neumünster (GER), 20-21 February
9 Göteborg (SWE), 26-27 February
FINAL 's-Hertogenbosch (NED), 25-27 March
FEI World CupTM Dressage, the only worldwide series in this discipline, has entered its 25th season. The series, created in 1985, comprises four leagues: Western European, Central European, North American (including Canada) and Pacific (Australia, New Zealand, Asia). Each FEI World CupTM Dressage qualifier consists of a Grand Prix test, which in turn is a qualification for the Freestyle to music competition, where league points are accumulated towards places in the Final. Judged on both technical and artistic merit, the FEI World CupTM Dressage combines art, sport and partnership between horse and rider at the highest level and consistently proves a winning formula with audiences all over the world.
Technical Note: The FEI World Cup DressageTM Champion does not earn points in his/her starts but is automatically qualified to the next Final with two FEI World CupTM Dressage qualifiers completed. Riders not belonging to the Western European League (WEL) or Central European League (CEL) cannot earn points in the WEL unless they have declared to compete in the WEL 2009/2010. These riders may however transfer the results from a maximum of three (3) WEL qualifiers to their own League. Points earned by CEL riders will be transferred to the CEL standings.
THE COMPLETE RULES CAN BE DOWNLOADED FROM www.feiworldcup.org
The Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI), founded in 1921, is the international body governing equestrian sport recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and includes 133 National Federations. Equestrian sport has been on the Olympic programme since 1912 with three disciplines - Jumping, Dressage and Eventing. It is one of the very few sports in which men and women compete on equal terms. It is also the only sport which involves two athletes - horse and rider. The FEI has relentlessly concerned itself with the welfare of the horse, which is paramount and must never be subordinated to competitive or commercial influences.