Germany’s Isabell Werth once again proved unbeatable as she completed a phenomenal hat-trick of back-to-back World Cup titles — all on the same horse.
She and her superstar mare, the 14-year-old Weihegold OLD scored 88.82% to secure victory in Gothenburg, Sweden, ahead of the USA’s Laura Graves — runner-up for the third year running — and fellow German rider Helen Langehanenberg.
With this title, Isabell has matched Dutch rider Anky van Grunsven’s record of three consecutive titles aboard the same horse, and this is 49-year-old Isabell’s fifth World Cup win in total — fittingly having claimed her first one here in Gothenburg 27 years ago.
Despite a blip in their one-tempi changes, Isabell and the Don Schufro daughter dazzled the judges with some spectacular piaffe, passage and pirouettes.
“Weihe was fantastic today and she really deserves this — it was a nearly perfect ride, except I made a mistake myself,” Isabell said. “The piaffe and passage just couldn’t be better I don’t think.”
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In a repeat of the 2017 and 2018 result, the USA’s Laura Graves was snapping at Isabell’s heels all the way, but was unable to surpass her, finishing second with her 17-year-old gelding Verdades, on 87.18%.
“I was thrilled with how he went from the very second he went in; he was rideable and focused,” Laura said. “It’s so great to hear the crowd clapping along at end — you feel they are enjoying it as much as you are.”
At her first World Cup final since finishing second in 2014, Germany’s Helen Langehanenberg finished on the podium, having posted a personal best of 86.57% with her powerful stallion Damsey FRH — one of five 17-year-old horses in this final.
Denmark’s Daniel Bachmann Andersen gave his test everything he had to finish fourth on 85.47% with the partially blind stallion Blue Hors Zack, while Kasey Perry-Glass slotted into fifth for the USA with Goerklintgaards Dublet. Ireland’s Judy Reynolds and Vancouver K improved their grand prix score from yesterday by a huge 10%. They finished 11th with 79.35% in a class where the top 10 competitors all posted over 80%.
Don’t miss the 11 April issue of Horse & Hound for full coverage from the World Cup finals in Gothenburg.