The Netherlands’ Hans peter Minderhoud and Glock’s Flirt (pictured) won the opening grand prix of the 2016 Reem Acra FEI World Cup final in Gothenburg, Sweden today (Friday, 25 March).

Riding Glock’s Flirt — a 15-year-old Florestan gelding — Hans Peter put an unassailable 76.871% on the scoreboard to scoop the winner’s purse of €7,000 (£5,000); not a bad income for a nine-minute ride.

“If I want to win once, this is my chance,” said Hans Peter, referring to a number of high profile withdrawals from this final, most notably his partner Edward Gal and Isabell Werth. “Glock’s Flirt is in really good shape and he was really with me and concentrated in there.”

Hans Peter was chased closely by the two riders competing on home turf, Tinne Vilhelmson SilfvŽén and Patrik Kittel, who filled second and third place.

Tinne’s ride, Antonia Ax:son Johnson’s Don Auriello (Don Davidoff x White Star) had a nervy start to the test, but clawed back the marks to finish second and claim €5,500.

Tinne Vilhelmson Silfven on Don Auriello. © Hippo Foto - Dirk Caremans

Tinne Vilhelmson Silfven on Don Auriello. © Hippo Foto – Dirk Caremans

“I was super happy but had a very shaky start. We had no halt, then he cantered off. I got a bit scared that I wasn’t where I should be with him, but as soon as I turned, he felt good. He hasn’t shown indoors for a very long time.”

Patrik (who finished 0.1% behind Tinne) was riding Watermill Scandic — one of four 17-year-old horses in the competition.

“He’s in great shape,” said the affable rider, who was the clear crown favourite. “He has so much energy and is such a special character, just like his father Solos Carex, who Tinne used to ride.”

Kittel Patrick and Watermill Scandic © Hippo Foto - Dirk Caremans

Kittel Patrick and Watermill Scandic © Hippo Foto – Dirk Caremans

The Swedish judge Gustav Svalling had his two riders in first and second, with the 74.4% he awarded Hans Peter only good enough for seventh by his reckoning. But it is all the scores from all seven judges that count.

Germany’s Jessica von Bredow-Werndl and her faithful partner Unee BB finished fourth, with the top five being rounded out by Anna Kasprzak and Donnerperignon for Denmark.

The scores from today’s grand prix serve to shape the starting order of Sunday’s freestyle to music final, where the scores from that test alone will determine the new champion. And it will certainly be a new champion as there are no previous winners among this year’s field.

Just 3.5% covered from first to eighth places in this class, so the winner of Sunday’s freestyle is hard to predict.

Judy Reynolds and Vancouver K

Judy Reynolds and Vancouver K

Ireland’s Judy Reynold and Vancouver K finished just outside the money in ninth with 73%.

Click here for full results.