Denmark’s Cathrine Dufour posts highest score so far in Olympic dressage grand prix

  • CATHRINE DUFOUR scored the highest mark of the Tokyo Olympic dressage grand prix competition so far to head group two. The Dane posted 81.056% riding the 11-year-old Bordeaux gelding Bohemian. Although it wasn’t quite a personal best, Cathrine called it “a clever round”.

    “He felt super, the perfect amount of ‘lit-up’ today but also listening,” she said. “I wanted to have a smooth, clear round but I was also playing a bit with where to push and where to hold back, as it was important for me to give him a really great feeling in the ring.”

    This is the 29-year-old rider’s second Olympic appearance. Although Bohemian is renowned to be spooky, the pair are ranked six in the world and tipped as potential medal-winners. Bohemian arrived at the arena with his chestnut coat lathered in sweat, but kept his temperament in check for a superb performance.

    “Even though there’s no audience, you get fooled because there is a vibe in there and you can really feel that it’s ‘now’.”

    Cathrine has left plenty in hand to be able to push Bohemian more at the sharp end of the competition.

    “Of course today counts, but we have two more rides to go, so I’m saving just a little bit,” she said. “It’s about giving him and me confidence in the ring today. I can do more and he can do more, and he’s never afraid. He always attacks the job.

    “In my eyes, he’s one of the best horses in the world.”

    “Total US’s first really big test”

    Edward Gal laid down a marker for the future with his nine-year-old Totilas son Total US, scored 78.649% to take second in this group. The Dutch rider was impressed by the young stallion’s maturity.

    “It was the first really big test for him in an arena like this and I felt the tension in the warm-up, and I’m sure he felt it in me,” said Edward. “But he’s so young and so talented, and I can feel that he’s much more confident now than in the first [grand prix] competition he did [in the spring].

    Total US is showing all the signs of being as brilliant as his sire.

    “I feel so much comparison with Totilas,” Edward said. “It’s the same feeling when you put your leg on, and the same reaction.

    “Totilas was more confident at this age; Total US is a little bit shy. But I can feel his confidence growing. Now, I can ride him a bit more. It will take a couple more years to get everything sorted but I think he’s really, really good.”

    “He is a bit like a bomb”

    Spain’s Beatriz Ferrer-Salat took third spot riding Elegance, her national champion, on a score of 72.096%. She was ruing a couple of mistakes in her second pirouette.

    “Those mistakes were quite expensive,” she said. “But I’m very happy with the horse. I’m quite nervous these days and that was very nice.”

    Beatriz described Elegance as “a very strong horse, very hot”.

    “He has a lot of power – he’s a little bit like a bomb, so that’s not always easy to manage,” she said. “But today I’m very happy and proud.”

    This was the second of six “heats” to qualify for Tuesday’s grand prix special for the team medals and Wednesday’s grand prix freestyle for individual medals. This group featured nine riders, after Austria’s Victoria Max-Theurer had to withdraw Abegglen NRW due to a tooth abscess.

    Cathrine and Edward qualify automatically as the top two from the group, and the six next best scores from across the groups will also go through. Britain’s Lottie Fry topped group one with 77.096% on Everdale.

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