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Dressage rider Isabell Werth in third place

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Dressage rider Isabell Werth in third place

Isabell Werth took a deep breath. She had worked hard to maneuver the gelding Quantaz through her freestyle to the sounds of Bonnie Tyler. The horse kept looking around at the dressage World Cup final on Friday evening in the arena in Riyadh and was tense.

“He was very loaded. But he was fair with me and solved it well,” his rider said later. Ultimately, the best German couple took third place with 81.429 percent, just behind the Danes Nanna Skodborg Merrald and Don Olymbrio (81.429).

The Swede Patrick Kittel surprisingly won for the first time in his ninth final appearance. In Saudi Arabia’s capital he won with the gelding Touchdown (81.661). “A dream comes true, I cried a lot today because of joy,” said Kittel after he had to take numerous photos with friends and fans on the way to the press conference. “This is a new experience for me.”

“Everyone was a bit irritated”

The world champion Charlotte Fry from Great Britain was disqualified shortly before the start of her test. The test’s chief judge, Hans-Christian Matthiesen from Denmark, discovered blood on the mouth of her horse Everdale before the music had even started.

Göran Akerström, a veterinarian at the World Equestrian Federation FEI, said the horse was examined and a small injury to its gums was found, which would heal quickly. Matthiesen emphasized that it was a tough decision for him, but in the interests of the horse and according to the FEI rules.

“We were all a bit irritated in the warm-up arena and didn’t know what had happened,” Isabell Werth reported later. “I’m very sorry for Lottie, unfortunately something like that can happen.” Despite the failure of one of the favorites, Isabell Werth narrowly missed out on her sixth title in her 25th World Cup final, but national coach Monica Theodorescu found words of appreciation: “She has it masterfully solved.”

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Radiant podium: Nanna Merrald from Denmark, Patrik Kittel from Sweden and Isabell Werth from Germany (from left to right)dpa

Already on Wednesday at the Grand Prix, Quantaz, who is Werth’s first choice for the Olympic Games in Paris, was impressed by the arena and was in the canter lessons. Charlotte Fry and Everdale won the test.

In the final, the other two German couples ranked behind Isabell Werth: Matthias Alexander Rath and Destacado came fourth (77.850 percent), Raphael Netz and Great Escape Camelot fifth (76.482 percent). Defending champion and world champion Jessica von Bredow-Werndl did not take part in the World Cup final as she is concentrating on the Olympic Games with the mare Dalera.

The morning of the penultimate day of competition in Riyadh was overshadowed by the news that American rider Jill Humphrey’s show jumper Chromatic had collapsed in the stable and died. Göran Akerström reported that the horse was autopsied at the Riyadh University Hospital on Friday. The first results could be available in around ten days, and those of the blood samples taken according to the FEI anti-doping rules are expected in two to three weeks.

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