Werth her Weight in Gold: Isabell Werth and Weihegold Win 2017 World Cup Dressage title; U.S.’s Graves Second

Laura Graves, Isabell Werth and Carl Hester
Credit : Scoopdyga

Sunday 02 April - 16h09 | Ian Clayton and FEI

Werth her Weight in Gold: Isabell Werth and Weihegold Win 2017 World Cup Dressage title; U.S.’s Graves Second

When an athlete has won ten Olympic medals in their sport, six of them gold, it is hard to bet against them. That was confirmed Saturday at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Nebraska where Germany’s Isabell Werth on Weihegold OLD won her third FEI World Cup Dressage title. 

 - Werth her Weight in Gold: Isabell Werth and Weihegold Win 2017 World Cup Dressage title; U.S.’s Graves Second

Credit : Scoopdyga

Werth, the most decorated equestrian in Olympic history, was the last into the arena with her 12-year-old black mare, and had the impressive score of 85.307 % by American Rio Olympic Bronze medalists Laura Graves and Verdades to overcome.

But that they did, with an imposing final average of 90.704 %. As a result, the World No.1 took home not only her first World Cup title in ten years, but also 50,900 euros or about $54,300 in prize money. The Omaha victory comes after Werth's earlier World Cup titles in Gothenburg, Sweden (1992) and Las Vegas (2007).

“It’s special to win again after ten years, to come back with a different kind of horse and after a really great season,” Werth said in an FEI report. “I’m very happy and I’m also thankful, because I know what it’s like to be downstairs, and I’m really happy and grateful to be upstairs again!”

While Graves — who has in the past explained that she generally prepares the day of the competition by staying with Verdades for the day, making sure her 15-year-old bay gelding is well-fed and massaged — was disappointed not to knock off the big favorite in front of the home crowd, she was nonetheless also grateful for the result.

“I didn’t realise how badly I wanted to win,” Graves explained after her pair’s crowd-pleasing Grand Prix Freestyle. “I said on Thursday I’d give it a run for the money, and today I thought ‘Oh I want that so badly,’ but finishing second to the No. 1 in the world still feels a lot like winning. This is my first time on a podium as an individual and that was very special. I won’t forget it, that’s for sure!”

In third, Great Britain’s Carl Hester and Nip Tuck also broke the 80% barrier, finishing with 83.757%. “I think he gave his maximum so I can’t be disappointed when he did his absolute best,” Hester said of Nip Tuck, after what he had described as a difficult week of travel and adjustment for the 13-year-old gelding. 

After the win, Werth sprayed the runners-up with champagne on the podium in front of the CenturyLink spectators, a relaxed and playful conclusion to the Dressage finalists' long journey to Omaha. 

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