Monday, October 31, 2011

Dressage: Olympics: Australian Dressage Team aims for Olympic qualification this week

The Australian Dressage Team’s bid for Olympic qualification got underway on Friday 28 October at the Australian Dressage Championships, Sydney International Equestrian Centre.

The Grand Prix CDI-W class served as the first leg of the Dressage Regional Olympic qualifier. Due to quarantine restrictions, the qualifier will be held in two parts, one in each hemisphere, as riders and horses are based in both Australasia and Europe. The Sydney competition was the first leg whilst the second leg will be in Ermelo (NED) on 2 November.

The qualifier is open to teams from the FEI Olympic Groups F (Africa and Middle East) and G (South East Asia and Oceania). Three nations – Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa – are seeking Olympic qualification. The two best placed teams overall will join Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Germany, Great Britain, The Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and the USA, which have already qualified.

The same Ground Jury will judge at the two events. The panel consists of FEI 5* judges Stephen Clarke (GBR), who will also be the President of the Ground Jury at the London 2012 Olympic Games, Gotthilf Riexinger (GER) and Susan Hoevenaars (AUS), plus FEI 4* judges Mariëtte Sanders-van Gansewinkel (NED) and Raphaël Saleh (FRA).

On Friday Australia was represented by Rachael Sanna on Jaybee Alabaster and Chantal Wigan on Ferero, with the remaining two Australian team members (Mary Hanna on Sancette and Lyndal Oatley on Potifar) to compete in the Ermelo event on Wednesday. The full South African team will also compete in Ermelo.

Sanna was the best performed rider winning the class on 69.11%. Wigan finished the class in 11th position overall scoring 62.47%.

New Zealand fielded their full team in Sydney. The New Zealand Team finished with a total score of 194.77. Louisa Hill and Bates Antonello posted the highest percentage for the Kiwis (66.13%) followed by Vanessa Way on KH Arvan (65.51%) then Nicky Pope on Fabarchie (63.13%). The discard score was Shiwon Green on Gosh (61.36%).

“We were really really happy with our performance,” commented New Zealand’s Louisa Hill following their team performance in Sydney.

“It is now up to the riders in Ermelo,” said Equestrian Australia High Performance Manager Brett Mace. “We managed a solid result in Sydney so it depends on the performance of our second two riders and of course the South African team.”

A notable absence from the Australian Team was Brett Parbery and Victory Salute. Parbery was not available for selection due to an injury sidelining Victory Salute for the remainder of the year.

Results will be posted in the Equestrian Australia web site following the competition.

Results for the Grand Prix CDI-W Sydney 28 October can be found here

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