Germany’s Isabell Werth and the lovely mare Weihegold showed exactly why they are the no. 1 partnership in the world rankings when sweeping to their second consecutive victory in the FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2016/2017 Western European League on home turf at Stuttgart today. This third leg attracted 15 riders from eight nations but the host country completely dominated the podium, with world no. 2 Kristina Broring-Sprehe slotting into runner-up spot with Desperados FRH ahead of Fabienne Lutkemeier and D’Agostino in third.
Werth produced a personal best Freestyle score of 90.09 when topping the previous leg at Lyon, France last month and today’s winning mark of 89.416 was just a little short of that. But the 47-year-old rider felt today’s performance was even better.
It was the German Olympic reserve partnership of Hubertus Schmidt and Imperio who were leading at the halfway stage with a score of 77.645 before The Netherlands’ Madeleine Witte-Vrees went out in front with a very nice effort from the promising nine-year-old, Cennin, who posted 78.415. Werth was next into the ring however and the result never looked in doubt after her big score went up on the board. “There was just one little thing when I stopped in the one-tempis and she gave me one more jump, but the rest was really super!” said the athlete who added yet another team gold along with individual silver to her massive haul of Olympic medals at the Rio 2016 Games this summer.
The remaining four enjoyed mixed fortunes, Spencer Wilton’s Super Nova producing an edgy performance that left the Briton last despite the pair’s third-place finish in yesterday’s Grand Prix. Lutkemeier moved into second spot with a solid test from the 16-year-old D’Agostino when posting 78.886 before Ireland’s Judy Reynolds and Vancouver K, struggling a little with their brand new music and floorplan, put 74.780 on the board.
Last to go, Broring-Sprehe and Desperados FRH were elegant and foot-perfect for a mark of 86.306 which saw them overtake Lutkemeier for second place, but Werth was in a class of her own. Describing the mare who looks well set to earn a third FEI World Cup title for the rider who is already a legend in her own lifetime, Werth said this evening, “she’s fantastic, she’s always very polite and very uncomplicated, never spooky or tense. She is the perfect competition horse!”
Werth now lies second on the Western European League leaderboard, just one point behind Switzerland’s Marcela Krinke-Susmelj, going into the next leg in Salzburg, Austria on 11 December.
Photos: FEI/Stefan Lafrentz