The Dutch made it a one two three on home soil in ‘s-Hertogenbosch at the World Cup final on Saturday.
Even without last year’s winner Anky van Grunsven — who failed to qualify — the Netherlands pinched the top three placings courtesy of Edward Gal (Moorlands Totilas), Adelinde Cornelissen (Parzival) and Imke Schellekens-Bartels (Hunter Douglas Sunrise).
Moorlands Totilas’s supremacy was in doubt after Thursday’s warm-up grand prix where he finished second to Adelinde on Parzival. But today the pair didn’t even get close, as Edward lead by more than seven per cent with a score of 89.9%.
Edward’s ride, the impressive black Gribaldi stallion, wasn’t as relaxed as we saw him at Hickstead and Windsor last year, but Edward contained the 10-year-old’s nerves enough to show off his tremendous expression and not rack up any expensive mistakes. Last to go, and with the home-crowd behind him, rather than bow under the pressure, the pair rose to the occasion.
Edward said: “I was a little nervous how he would be today as he was tense on Thursday, but by half way through the test he seemed to find his confidence again. And by the end I was very happy.”
Adelinde was perhaps at a disadvantage running 11th in the order — by comparison Totilas was up last — and she needed to do something special to retain the lead for that long. She almost lost the lead earlier than expected, to eventual third-placed Imke Schellekens-Bartels, who received a standing ovation for her mistake-free test on the experienced mare Hunter Douglas Sunrise.
“I thought this week that this would be our best show,” said Imke. “It was the best freestyle she’s ever done.”
Germany’s Isabell Werth, back in action following her ban and baby break, looked strong on Warum Nicht, who finished just shy of 80%.
Fifth, but still impressive, were Sweden’s Patrik Kittel and Scandic Watermill, whose mark caused some controversy as the crowd felt he deserved more.
Don’t miss Horse & Hound 1 April issue for a full report, results and photographs from Den Bosch