‘He’s so happy when I say “good job”’: Lottie Fry takes control of World Cup Final

  • Britain’s sole representative in the dressage World Cup Finals won the grand prix in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The reigning world champion Lottie Fry, riding her second string Everdale, headed the field by more than 2%, scoring 75.38%. Sweden’s Patrik Kittel was runner-up with his European Championship ride Touchdown on 73.29%. Lottie goes down in history as the first international dressage winner to be crowned in this country.

    Bar a slight blip where Everdale took his eye off the ball before the rein-back, Lottie’s test was impressively consistent. And once she was into the canter work, with the stallion’s expressive changes scoring eights and nines, she was well on her way to sealing the win.

    “The VIP section on two levels caught his eye, he’s not used to that lovely design,” said Lottie, who has been riding the 15-year-old in “very soft” rubber bits for the past two months. “But his canter work was some of the best I’ve ever felt. His changes were as good as they’ve ever been and had so much power.

    “He loves to work; he loves to please and to make me happy. And when I tell him, ‘you’ve done a good job’, he’s so happy about it.”

    Regarding the landmark dressage win, Lottie added: “I didn’t realise I was the first winner, but that’s really exciting. Especially as we are in a sport where men and women compete on equal terms.”

    Lottie added that although her world champion Glamourdale is being targeted at Paris, Everdale is “a very nice back-up”.

    “They’re getting pretty competitive as they’re stabled opposite each other at home,” Lottie smiled. “And Glammy is not happy to be left behind!”

    Best result yet at dressage World Cup Finals

    Patrik Kittel has been to six World Cup Finals, and this is his best result yet. Touchdown looked wonderfully light on his feet, and performed another accurate and consistent test. Patrik looked thrilled as he left the arena, rewarding Touchdown and waving at the crowd.

    “I was a little bit surprised to be second because I knew the queen [Isabell Werth] was still to come,” he said. “Isabell’s mistakes were unusual, but of course I’m happy for me. The tension has been building up, you fly horses here, we arrived last Thursday and it’s a long wait, so all you can do is go in with your horse and hope the horse is with you – that’s the most enjoyable moment.”

    Nanna Skodborg Merrald was another riding her second string. She was third into the arena on Blue Hors Olymbrio, and set the standard with 72.9%. This imposing liver chestnut with a big blaze and four socks could well be in Danish team reckoning for the Olympics, given that we have yet to see Nanna’s European individual silver medallist, Blue Hors Zepter, compete this season.

    Surprise blip for multi-garlanded rider

    Isabell Werth’s ride DSP Quantaz was among the favourites on past form, having the highest personal best of plus-78% of the assembled field, and they started with a bang. But his lead faltered with the walk and rein-back section, before what looked like a complete miscommunication in the two-time flying changes, scoring 1.7, caused their score to plummet.

    Isabell did claw back some of the deficit with some nice one-time changes, but the test was intermittent from then on. They scored a sub-par 72.23% to finish fourth.

    The Netherlands’ Thamar Zweistra and Hexagon’s Ice Weiss was eliminated from the grand prix under the blood rule.

    The grand prix is a qualifier for the freestyle, which decides the dressage World Cup Final result and takes place on Friday, 19 April at 3.15 UK time. All bar one of the combinations  who completed the grand prix, the Moldovan Alisa Grinka and Abercrombie, will go through to the freestyle.

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