A superb performance from Anky Van Grunsven and Gestion Salinero secured the Dutch rider victory in the final qualifier of the FEI Western European League in front of an ecstatic home crowd at Indoor Brabant.
With wins at Mechelen and Amsterdam under her belt, plus a second on her initial outing at Maastricht, the five-time World Cup winner goes into the final at the head of the Western European league.
“Gestion Salinero was great, the best he has been so far” said Anky after her win. “The atmosphere here was brilliant, very special as always, and we are having a big party tonight for sure!”
The impressive Gestion team took a clean sweep of the top three places at ‘s-Hertogenbosch. Van Grunsven’s pupil Edward Gal rode Gestion Lingh to second place on 78.45%, securing his ticket to Dusseldorf next week. A return to top form by Gestion Goliath saw an emotional Arjen Teeuwissen take third on 76.42.
In fourth place, Ann-Kathrin Linsenhoff did a great job with her beautiful mare Wahajama-Unicef to finish the league in seventh place. As the fourth placed German rider in the final league standings, Ann-Kathrin was set to miss the final, but has been awarded a last-minute wild card entry.
Heike Kemmer, Hubertus Schmidt and Isabell Werth, who finished sixth at Indoor Brabant on Apache, will also be representing Germany in the final. Sweden’s Louise Nathhorst and Danish dental student Nicole Ahlefeldt Laurvig-Lehn also secured their places in the final as expected.
However, following the withdrawal of Debbie McDonald and Brentina, and Kyra Kyrklund’s decision not to compete despite qualifying, FEI World Cup director Joep Bartels has increased the number of riders qualifying from the Western European League to 12, plus two wild cards.
The remaining wild card has been awarded to Dutch rider Marlies van Baalen, who was standing in 13th place in the rankings, after her ninth place at Indoor Brabant on Blom’s Idocus. Sweden’s Tinne Vilhelmsson, 14th on points, is the final extra rider to compete in Dusseldorf.
Emma Hindle, who finished the league in fifth place with Wie Weltmeyer, is the only British rider to have qualified for this year’s World Cup final.
Final Western European league standings
1, Anky van Grunsven NED 77
2, Heike Kemmer GER 72
3, Hubertus Schmidt GER 64
4, Isabell Werth GER 58
5, Emma Hindle GBR 57
6, Edward Gal NED 56
7, Ann Kathrin Linsenhoff GER 54
8, Sven Rothenberger NED 48
9, Louise Nathhorst SWE 37
10= Kyra Kyrklund FIN and Nicole Ahlefeldt Laurvig-Lehn DEN 35
12, Gina Capellmann-Luetkemeier GER 32
13, Marlies Van Baalen NED 30
14, Tinne Vilhelmsson SWE 29
15, Antoinette Falandt NED 27