‘As always, our horses lead the way’: World Cup Final favourite withdraws through injury

  • Isabell Werth has announced that she will not be riding her long-term partner Emilio 107 (Ehrenpreis x Cacir A) at the 2024 Dressage World Cup Final (16-20 April) in Riyadh, Saudia Arabia.

    “As always, our horses lead the way,” Isabell said. “Unfortunately, Emilio has a periostitis [inflammation] due to a trauma. He will therefore not be able to compete in the World Cup Final.”

    The combination were among the favourites to win the competition and had the highest average freestyle score in qualifying (87.41%). It was also likely to be a farewell appearance for the 18-year-old gelding, who is owned by Madeline Winter-Schulze.

    Isabell had previously told Dressursport Deutschland that Emilio would retire at the end of 2023, with Frankfurt CDI earmarked as his final show.

    But following a strong showing at the World Cup qualifier in Stuttgart, Isabell told Dressursport.kim that she was having second thoughts on Emilio’s retirement: “I might even ride him on a World Cup stage. I’m still wavering in my heart – let’s see,” she said. Their participation was confirmed when the FEI released the list of definite entries (30 March).

    Isabell will now ride DSP Quantaz who won the World Cup qualifier in ‘s-Hertogenbosch. “He is in very good shape and I hope we can prove our form there,” she said.

    Quantaz is now likely to challenge Britain’s Lottie Fry and Everdale for the top spot at the finals. Lottie and Everdale (88.18%) beat Isabell and Quantaz (86.45%) at the World Cup qualifier in Amsterdam (27 January) but the German combination carry a higher average score going into the showdown – 85.98% to Everdale’s 85.11%.

    If Emilio is to retire, he will do so as one of the most successful dressage horses of the last decade, despite at times playing second fiddle to Isabell’s other top rides including Quantaz, Weihegold and Bella Rose.

    He would bow out as the number two ranked horse in the world – behind TSF Dalera BB – having achieved 56 international grand prix wins from 99 starts.

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