Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro will defend their Reem Acra FEI World Cup title in Las Vegas next month (15-19 April).
The current World, Olympic and European champions were comfortable winners of the World Cup Final in Lyon in 2014, beating Germany’s Helen Langehanenberg and Damon Hill by nearly 5% in both the grand prix and the kür.
Helen no longer has the ride on Damon Hill so will not contest this year’s final, but Charlotte and Valegro will face competition from the likes of Edward Gal and Glock’s Undercover, who won the World Cup qualifier in ‘s-Hertogenbosch recently and who finished third at the final last year.
Edward, who took the title in 2010 on Totilas, is one of four former winners – including Charlotte – in the field. The others are Germany’s Isabell Werth, who has yet to choose between her two rides, Santos and Don Johnson, and the US’s Steffen Peters. Steffen won the World Cup final on Ravel when it was last held in Las Vegas in 2009, and this year has qualified Legolas by winning the recent CDI in San Juan Capistrano, Caifornia.
Laura Graves (Verdades) is the other US competitor, while German rider Fabienne Lutkemeier (D’Agostino), Spain’s Morgan Barbançon (Painted Black) and The Netherlands’ Hans Peter Minderhoud (Glock’s Flirt) are among the other European entries.
The FEI has awarded four extra starting places – formerly wildcards – to Danish riders Lars Petersen (Mariett) and Mikala Gundersen (My Lady), to Finland’s Terhi Stegars (Axis TSF) and to Russia’s Inesa Merkulova (Mister X). Two other Russian riders had already qualified – Elena Sidneva (Romeo Star) and Tatiana Dorofeeva (Kartsevo Upperville).