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Edward Gal and Totilas’s son revive dressage star’s golden freestyle to win national title

The son of dressage superstar Totilas was crowned Dutch national champion with Edward Gal, using the same freestyle as his history-making sire.

The pair’s poignant victory came almost exactly a decade on from Edward’s final competition on Totilas, at the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Kentucky (30 September, 2010), where he partnered the son of IPS Grimaldi to the same music and choreography, winning individual gold on a score of 91.8% and taking home three gold medals.

Edward and Glock’s Toto Jr were the only pair out of 28 starters to break the 80% barrier in the grand prix special on Saturday (19 September), posting a winning score of 80.68%.

They followed this up on Sunday with a score of 86.15% for their freestyle performance to a soundtrack composed by Joost Peters, which was met with a standing ovation.

Edward said the nine-year-old gives him a similar feeling to Totilas — and he has a feeling the horse can be even better than his father.

“When Toto Jr was three years old I already knew that if there was a horse that could run the freestyle of Totilas, it would be him,” said Edward.

“I’ve waited seven years for it. Today it was also exactly 10 years ago that I became world champion with Totilas in Kentucky.

“It’s still daring to say, but I have the feeling that Glock’s Toto Jr can be even better than his father.

“I am very happy how he walked went here today. It was only his third [time] at this level and it says something about his quality that he is doing so well. I feel he was even better today than yesterday. It is very nice for the future to know that he is growing in a competition. With Glock’s Toto Jr I feel a lot of what I also felt with his father Totilas.

“That is what makes this title so special for me.”

Glock’s Toto Jr is one of Totilas’ first crop of foals. He was bred by Judith and Sonke Schmidt, licensed in 2013 at Verden and bought for €100,000 (£91,715) by Edward’s sponsors, Glock.

He is a popular breeding sire in his own right and has around 700 offspring, including several licensed sons.

“It is 10 years ago that I rode this freestyle with Totilas in Kentucky. I never thought I would ride it again,” added Edward.

“Today I sat on his son and it was incredible. I felt the tears coming up and was really overwhelmed when you gave us standing ovations.

“I’m so thankful to Kathrin and Gaston Glock who gave us a new equestrian home and the chance to train and ride such amazing horses as Glock’s Toto Jr is. Always knowing that they won’t be sold.

“I’m so thankful that they trusted us, when we advised to buy Toto. We were convinced by him. We saw the upcoming champion and today he showed his amazing talent.

“He is a lot like his father. He has nearly the same behaviour — so smart and cuddly and he really looks similar to him.”

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He thanked the fans and the whole team involved in the “exceptional day”.

“You went along with me through ups and downs, really happy and really sad moments. Today we are sharing a really special and really wonderful moment. Thank you,” he added.

In second place was Hans Peter Minderhoud and Glock’s Dream Boy NOP, with Emmelie Scholens and Desperado NOP third.

“From a sports point of view it couldn’t have been better,” said Dutch national coach Alex can Silfhout.

“In the special we saw that many participants still missed the competition feeling a bit. Today I saw a group of 12 combinations with which we can look to the future with a smile. The fact that there is another top combination with Edward and Toto Jr only gives hope to Tokyo again.”

Watch Edward Gal and Totilas score 92.3% at Olympia in 2009

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