WORLD number one Anky van Grunsven (NED) and IPS Salinero predictably won the grand prix dressage at Olympia, London, on 17 December with 78.042%.
“This is a difficult arena with the crowd so close and Salinero was a little afraid in the first extended trot, but after that I had a very good feeling with him,” said Anky. “His flying changes were the best he’s ever done.”
The favourites for tomorrow’s FEI World Cup Qualifier will debut their new kür, a classical piece featuring a large orchestra that has been composed by Wibi Soerjadi.
Britain’s Laura Bechtolsheimer was not only best of the British, second on Mistral Hojris, she also scored a personal best of 75.33%. This is the highest score any British rider has ever achieved in international grand prix. Her Danish-bred 12-year-old contained his nerves to produce consistent eights from all five judges and no big mistakes.
“He’s been gaining confidence all the time,” said Laura. “I’m able to trust him in the arena now and allow him to get those higher marks.
“How tomorrow goes is up to the gods, there’ll be more atmosphere and I’ll be nursing him through the test.”
Laura had her hands full after her final halt and salute when Mistral Hojris set off around the arena at speed when the audience clapped.
Third place went to Holland’s Aat van Essen and Premier. The former carriage-driving champion turned to dressage six years ago and Premier is his first international grand prix horse.
“He loves the public and the public here seemed to love him,” said Aat, who couldn’t believe his luck at being given the chance to come and compete in London.
“There are many good riders in Holland so it is difficult to get a place,” he said. “I only found out on Wednesday that I was coming and I’m very happy to be here.”
The remaining three British riders, Stephanie Croxford, Carl Hester and Emile Faurie, have all qualified for tomorrow’s FEI World Cup Qualifier.
Don’t miss next week’s Horse&Hound for the full report for Olympia
Olympia dressage grand prix results
1. IPS Salinero (Anky van Grunsven) NED 1873 points
2. Mistral Hojris (Laura Bechtolsheimer) GBR 1808 points
3. Premier (Aat van Essen) NED 1733 points
4. Max (Kyra Kyrklund) FIN 1704 points
5. Luxform’s Nimbly (Alex van Silfhout) NED 1684 points
6. Afrikka (Anders Dahl) DEN 1667 points
7. Mr President (Stephanie Croxford) GBR 1661 points
8. Dolendo (Carl Hester) GBR 1640 points
9. Paganini (Jeroen Devroe) BEL 1631 points
10. Zancor (Anna-Katharina Lüttgen) GER 1611 points
14. Dream of Heidelberg II (Emile Faurie) GBR 1563 points