Former World Cup champion Ulla Salzgeber will not be invited to compete in the 2004 World Cup dressage final in Düsseldorf (1-4 April).
World Cup director, Joep Bartles, has confirmed that the current European Champion will not receive one of the three wild card entries to the final. Ulla told HHO she was “astonished” by the news.
A wild card was Ulla’s only hope of gaining entry to the final as her current two-month suspension from competition has prevented her from qualifying in the normal way. The suspension was imposed by the German federation after Ulla’s top ride Rusty, tested positive for a banned substance at last year’s World Cup final.
Ulla won the World Cup final in 2001 and 2002, but Rusty’s positive test brought her run of success to an end last year, as she was stripped of her title by the FEI after the event. As a result American rider Debbie McDonald and Brentina were crowned as the 2003 World Cup champions.
The finals will see 18 of the world’s top riders go head-to-head for the World Cup title, with the three wild-card riders being announced next month.
Last year’s silver medal winner, Heike Kemmer, has a comfortable lead in the FEI World Cup Dressage Western European League, with one qualifier still to be held at ‘s-Hertogenbosch in March. Britain’s Emma Hindle is well placed in equal fourth.
For more information about the final, visit: www.duesseldorf-masters.de