So often the bridesmaid, it was Hans Peter Minderhoud’s time to shine at the final qualifying leg of the World Cup Dressage’s ultra-competitive Western European league, held on home ground in The Netherlands overnight. Hans Peter steered Glock’s Flirt to a stylish victory, cheered on from the sidelines by his partner, Dutch team superstar Edward Gal, who was unable to compete after injuring his back and wrist in a fall at home.
Current league table leader, and world number three, Germany’s Isabell Werth, was also on the sidelines, her top horse Don Johnson FRH out with injury.
But there was plenty for the Dutch to celebrate at ‘s-Hertongenbosch, with Hans Peter on 81.775%, and team mate Diederik van Silfout second on Arlando NOP on 80.15%. Spanish veteran and reigning European individual bronze medallist, Beatriz Ferrer-Salt, lined up third with Delgado while Belgium’s Fanny Verliefden made a big impression with the mare, Annarico, to fill fourth spot.
A total of 14 combinations from eight nations lined up in this last qualifier ahead of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage 2016 Final which begins in Gothenburg, Sweden, in just 12 days’ time and, for some, there was a lot hanging in the balance.
Only 0.4 points separated Hans Peter and Beatriz in the previous day’s Grand Prix test, but in the freestyle the Dutchman enjoyed a comfortable winning margin with a test that oozed confidence and class, the chestnut stallion cruising through his trotwork, showing enormous power in piaffe and breezing through his tempi-changes to earn maximum qualifying points and rocket up to second on the league table.
Hans Peter says he’s really looking forward to the final now. “It’s happening a month earlier than normal, so that’s great because it’s close to the end of the season and my horse is feeling really good! He’s never difficult, he’s a really hard-working boy, he’s a sweet boy, and I felt we did two really super tests here,” he said.
At Amsterdam in January, where Germany’s Isabell Werth reigned supreme, he had to settle for fifth place while Dieiderik lined up third with Arlando, and coming into the arena today he knew that his compatriot had produced another great test to take the lead. “I realised we would have to be really good to beat him, but my horse was really with me, he’s been working great at home, so we just had to go in there and do our job.”
Hans Peter said that Edward would be joining him to compete at Gothenburg despite his injuries, sustained when a young horse spooked in their indoor arena. “It’s three days later now and Edward is still sore and stiff but there are no broken bones, so he’s definitely going to be in Gothenburg!”
- The 2016 Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage Final takes place from March 23 to 28
1, Glock’s Flirt (Hans Peter Minderhoud) NED 81.775; 2, Arlando NOP (Diederik van Silfhout) NED 80.150; 3, Delgado (Beatriz Ferrer-Salat) ESP 79.325; 4, Annarico (Fanny Verliefden) BEL 77.950; 5, Ratzinger (Marlies van Baalen) NED 76.375; 6, Jojo Az (Agnete Kirk Thinggaard) DEN 76.300; 7, Du Soleil (Kristy Oatley) AUS 75.900; 8, Girasol (Morgan Barbancon Mestre) ESP 73.550; 9, Zippo (Patrick van der Meer) NED 71.425; 10, Zidhane (Anne van Olst) DEN 70.575; 11, Zamora (Lynne Maas) NED 69.425; 12, Xama dos Pinhais (Joao Victor Oliva) BRA 69.125; 13, Fabriano (Masanao Takahashi) JPN 68.650; 14, Zygrande le Coupled (Ceylan Avinal) TUR 65.300.