Friday 31 March - 00h31 | Lulu Kyriacou
Hester 3rd As Werth Wins World Cup Grand Prix
Britain's lone representative at the FEI World Cup Dressage and Jumping Finals in Omaha, Nebraska has done his country proud in the first competion of the event. Carl Hester and the Animo sired gelding Nip Tuck scored 76.671% to take third place in the Grand Prix behind the clear winners, Isabell Werth and Weihegold. Laura Graves of the USA was second.
Hester began his test conservatively on the notoriously spooky Nip Tuck but his piaffe and passage work was outstanding. A little tension in the collected walk dragged the mark down as did two rather large pirouettes but overall the performance was good enough to take the lead and hold onto it until the last two riders in the class performed. He said afterwards, ""The first day test for him was not bad. The first day is generally hit and miss and I always say, well, whatever happens on the first day is OK because he's normally great on the second day. I like to ride him conservatively on the first day, conservative and nice. It was a great ride. I am really happy with him. I don't expect to be too far behind on Saturday."
Laura Graves and Verdades gave the hosts something to cheer about when they took the lead from Hester on a score of 79.8% although her test was not error free either. Graves said afterwards that she was "super pleased" with her horse and thought that the scores could have been closer had it not been for her own errors.
Errors, though, even crept into the test of winner Werth but losing the rythmn in the two time changes was not enough to stop the German six times Olympic gold medallist from establishing a 3% lead with the 12 year olf Weihegold. The mare certainly looked a little bright and there was some tension in the early movements but the pirouettes were particularly splendid and the world number one loked cool and calm despite her horse's slight lack of relaxation.
Werth, though also blamed herself for not scoring higher. "There was a lot of clapping before hand after the test of Laura (Graves) so I started very carefully, especially in the piaffe and passage, because there was some tension. Then in the two time changes, i was so happy with the first three, i relaxed and lost it, it was my mistake! As for the freestyle on Saturday, if I ride without mistakes, it will work, otherwise maybe not!"
The others to make the top six to contest the Freestyle on Saturday night are Edward Gal with Glock's Voice, Ireland's Judy Reynolds with Vancouver and Madeleine Witte-Vrees with Cennin. There was almost 100% agreement on the postion of the top three combinations by the judging panel and the full scores are here