Isabell Werth and her veteran campaigner Antony FRH snatched victory from challengers Jan Brink and Bjorsells Briar, with the Danish duo of Andreas Helgstrand and Blue Hors Cavan in third in Neumunster last weekend.

The 19-year-old Hanoverian by Argument, who has competed in more World Cups than any other horse including no less than six finals, certainly rose to the occasion.

“It was as if ‘Tony’ just heard the music and put such fire and emotion into it — he was outstanding and really fighting for it”, said a delighted Werth. “It was an amazing feeling, he just got bigger and bigger!”

The German pair’s next show will be at Indoor Brabant at ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Holland next month, and Werth would love to ride Antony in Las Vegas and then retire him with full honours. She is currently in joint seventh place with 46 points jointly with Denmark’s Lone Joergensen. “It is difficult to make long term plans with him at his age, but if he is in the shape he is today, that would be my dream,” she said.

Another bound for Indoor Brabant to survey his Las Vegas chances is Jan Brink. “Briar feels very fit and fresh and I could really ride him forward here”, said Brink. Having made small changes to his freestyle before Athens, Brink decided afterwards to return to the original medal-winning programme that worked so brilliantly for them at the Hickstead European Championships. “We made a mistake in the two-tempis but otherwise he worked really well, ” Brink added.

Andreas Helgstrand overcame a disappointing grand prix ride to finish third with Blue Hors Cavan. “Cavan was really tense and behind my leg in the grand prix but today, apart from one mistake in the one-tempis, everything else was super.”

Judge at ‘C’ Dr Volker Moritz said: “It was a very exciting class and good sport. The first three riders were very close and we saw some very good horses. Antony was clearly in a very good mood today! I have been judging here for 30 years and there is always a spectacular audience. They are horse people, and they know the business.”

FEI World Cup Qualifier results

1. Antony FRH (Isabell Werth) GER 79.375;
2. Bjorsells Briar (Jan Brink) SWE 78.850;
3. Blue Hors Cavan (Andreas Helgstrand) DEN 78.625;
4. Losdau’s Loriot (Martin Schaudt) GER 76.975;
5. Gribaldi (Edward Gal) NED 74.650;
6. Just Mickey (Tinne Vilhemson) SWE 73.925;
7. Ludewig G (Lone Joergensen) DEN 71.550;
8. Ratino H (Martina Hannover-Sternberg) GER 71.525;
9. Le Primeur 2 (Marie Line Wettstein) FRA 71.075;
10. Donatha S (Ellen Schulten-Baumer) GER 70.875.