British dressage champion misses out on World Cup final place

  • National Dressage Championships

    Just one British rider is set to appear at next month’s World Cup final in Paris (11-15 April), after Hayley Watson-Greaves narrowly missed out on what would have been her first World Cup final appearance.

    Emile Faurie squeezed into the qualifying places, finishing equal eighth in the Western European league to secure his spot in Paris.

    Britain’s national champion faced disappointment after finishing 13th in the rankings with Rubins Nite (Squeaks).

    “I was pretty close, so it’s disappointing, but we had really tough competition this year,” said Hayley, who had been placed as high as eighth in the rankings after her sixth place finish at Olympia.

    She arrived at the final World Cup qualifier, at Den Bosch in the Netherlands, in 12th place, equal with Denmark’s Cathrine Dufour, but despite a plus-75% freestyle with the 14-year-old Rubin Royal son, it was not enough to elevate her to a qualifying position in the rankings.

    “When I saw Edward Gal was at Den Bosch I had no doubt he was going creep above me,” said Hayley, who was crowned British national champion with Squeaks in September 2017.

    “You do have to play the game a little bit, getting out to the first qualifiers to get a load of early points. But I do like a challenge — I haven’t quite won my own challenge, but it’s been a hell of an experience; it’s so inspiring to be competing against the very best.”

    “It’s been tough to keep up with the training as I only have an outdoor school and this winter’s been particularly hard, but I’d love to campaign for the World Cup again.”

    Emile will line up in Paris alongside the rankings leader Patrik Kittel of Sweden, his compatriot Tinne Vilhelmson Silfven, Germany’s Isabell Werth and Dorothee Schneider, Madeleine Witte-Vrees and Edward Gal of the Netherlands, and Belina Weinbauer of Austria.

    Having qualified both his European Championships ride Lollipop and his Olympia runner-up Delatio, despite having withdrawn Lollipop from the grand prix freestyle in Den Bosch, Emile has the choice of which horse to partner in Paris. This will be a first World Cup final appearance for the two-time Olympian and double European team medallist.

    The Western European riders will be joined by the top combinations from the Central European league, the North American league and the Pacific league, who are yet to be confirmed.

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