Germany’s Isabell Werth beat the USA’s Laura Graves to the FEI World Cup title this afternoon (Saturday, 14 April) in Paris, in an incredibly tense showdown.

Laura’s score of 89.082% with her own and her boyfriend Curt Maes’ Verdades was a personal best by 3.886%, rewarding a flawless test with a high degree of difficulty.

“My horse has been terrific all week, I’m super-proud and impressed with how our training is going and how he was in that environment. Perhaps I could have done more to help him and then maybe we would have hit 90%. But we’re so close and that’s exciting,” said Laura.

Paris World Cup dressage final 2018 freestyle Laura Graves

Laura Graves and Verdades take second in the 2018 FEI World Cup final in Paris. Picture by Jon Stroud Media

But Isabell came back fighting after being beaten by Laura in the grand prix yesterday and matched her error-free performance with one of her own on Christine Arns-Krogmann’s black mare Weihegold OLD. She scored 90.657%.

“Today my horse was really perfect and that was one of our best freestyles, perhaps the best,” said Isabell. “I was sure Laura would get a high mark and I was focused on fighting. I tried to analyse what happened yesterday and improve.”

Jessica von Bredow-Werndl was emotional to finish third for Germany with Christine Bürchler-Keller’s 17-year-old Unee BB, scoring 83.725%.

“It’s our third time on the podium at a World Cup final and his last final,” she said. “It’s very hard to beat Patrik [Kittel, fourth on 83.146%] and his 83% but we did it!”

Britain’s Hayley Watson-Greaves was pleased with her 75.346% for 11th on Rubins Nite.

“He went in there again and stayed relaxed and I’m delighted with our score,” said World Cup final debutante Hayley.

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Full report from Paris in Horse & Hound next week (issue dated 19 April).

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