Queen Isabell reigns supreme in Dressage Grand Prix with Carl Hester & Nip Tuck a brilliant 3rd
Queen Isabell reigns supreme but Britain’s Carl Hester finishes 3rd on a growing in confidence Nip Tuck
By Louise Parkes
She’s 47 and formidable, an exquisite horsewoman and a long-time legend as the most medalled athlete in her sport. Despite a few glitches in her performance with the fabulous mare Weihegold today, Germany’s Isabell Werth won the opening Grand Prix at the FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final in Omaha, Nebraska by a comfortable 2.5 mark margin when scoring 82.300. Laura Graves (USA) finished second with Verdades on a score of 79.800 and Britain’s Carl Hester (49) finished 3rd with Nip Tuck scoring a fantastic 76.671.
Above: Isabell WERTH (GER) rides WEIHEGOLD OLD in The FEI World Cup™Dressage Final 1, Grand Prix, March 3oth 2017
Photo Cara Grimshaw/FEI
Isabell said after her win, “I’m completely happy, but I’ll have to calm my horse down before Saturday because she got so excited in the prizegiving!”
Werth includes five Olympic and three World team golds amongst the massive medal haul she has accumulated during her amazing career. She also has two FEI World Cup™ titles under her belt, the first collected 25 years ago in Gothenburg (SWE) and the next in Las Vegas (USA) in 2007, and she’s hungry for a third.
Above: Carl Hester (GBR) with Nip Tuck. Photo Liz Gregg/FEI
But it isn’t going to be a walk-in-the-park because the home side’s Laura Graves (29) was breathing right down her neck today when posting the runner-up score of 79.800 with Verdades, and is bidding to become only the third American ever to take this prestigious title.
Above; Laura GRAVES (USA) rides VERDADES. Photo Cara Grimshaw/FEI
“I think anything is possible!” Graves replied confidently when asked if she thought she could beat Werth in Saturday’s medal-deciding Freestyle to Music competition, and she has to be taken seriously after finishing fourth at the Rio Olympics with this horse who was so difficult as a youngster that she almost gave up on him.
Carl said after the competition:
“I always give my horse an easy ride in the Grand Prix so that he’s perfectly rideable for Saturday. I don’t expect to be too far behind on Saturday.”
Above; Carl HESTER (GBR) rides NIP TUCK. Photo Cara Grimshaw/FEI
New Zealand’s Wendi Williamson and Dejavu MH were eliminated when blood was found in the horse’s mouth post competition and Hanna Karasiova (BLR) and Arlekino failed to make the 60% cut-off mark.
Also sadly, after we reported on their win earlier this month, title holder Hans Peter Minderhoud (NED) is not competing in Omaha as his horse Glock’s Flirt was lame on the day of departure (25 March).