Dressage stars confirmed for inaugural Equestrian Grand Final
Australia’s leading dressage combinations will compete at the inaugural Equestrian Grand Final, held as part of EQUITANA, Sydney 10-13 November.
The Fifteen riders to compete at the elite Equestrian Grand Final were confirmed today following the announcement of the “wild cards”. A series of five qualifying events around Australia determined twelve of the competitors with three wild cards appointed by Equestrian Australia.
With Olympic fever in the air athletes will be chomping-at-the-bit to win the Equestrian Grand Final. The $20,000 prize pool adds a further incentive.
The field includes Australia’s best performed international combination Brett Parbery and Victory Salute – 9th placegetters at last year’s world championships.
Parbery is excited by the new competition "The Grand Final concept is a great innovation for equestrian sport in Australia and I am absolutely thrilled and honoured to be a part of the very first one. Thank you Equestrian Australia and EQUITANA for making it happen!”
Olympian Rachael Sanna and Jaybee Alabaster go into the Equestrian Grand Final as the best performed combination following the five qualifying events. Their Grand Prix Freestyle score of 74.250% achieved at the Sydney CDI in April was unmatched.
Queensland’s Chantal Wigan and her gelding Ferero won three consecutive World Cup (CDI-W) events this year. They qualified for the Grand Final in third place, just behind Parbery, but will be looking to claim the top spot come November.
Rozzie Ryan finished fourth on the series leader board with 15-year-old GV Bullwinkle. A former 3-star eventer with owner Olivia Bunn, the Rocadero gelding has made a huge impression the Dressage scene. Not long stepped up into Grand Prix level this horse is one to watch.
Qualifying one place behind his wife is 2008 Olympian Heath Ryan. Ryan will be fronting up on the vivacious black stallion Regardez Moi. It has been a steady climb back to the top for Ryan following a stroke suffered in 2009. This pair represented Australia at the 2009 FEI World Cup Final in Las Vegas and has the experience and talent to pull off a top performance.
New Zealand will be represented by three competitors. Vanessa Way of New Plymouth qualified with her 13-year-old Anamour gelding KH Arvan. A recent win in the Grand Prix at Dressage NSW scoring 67.872% will boost their confidence. Compatriots Louisa Hill and Nicky Pope were granted wild cards to the Equestrian Grand Final.
The final wildcard was awarded to Sally Evans from Ballina. Evans will be competing her Aachimedes stallionA’Seduction.
The Equestrian Grand Final will bring together Australia’s leading competitors in Dressage, Jumping and Eventing in one spectacular event.
The Equestrian Grand Final Dressage CDI-W Grand Prix will be held from 9.30am - 12.30pm Friday 11 November. The grand finale Grand Prix Freestyle will be the Saturday night feature event taking place from 7:30pm - 10:30pm in the spectacular 5000 seat indoor “Dome Arena”, Sydney Showground.
The full EQUITANA competition timetable can be viewed at http://www.equitana.com.au/timetable/
The combinations for the 2011 Equestrian Grand Final Dressage are as follows;
1 Rachael Sanna (Glossodia, NSW) Jaybee Alabaster
2 Brett Parbery (Penrose, NSW) Victory Salute
3 Chantal Wigan (Cleveland, Qld) Ferero
4 Rozzie Ryan (Heatherbrae, NSW) GV Bullwinkle
5 Heath Ryan (Heatherbrae, NSW) Regardez Moi
6 Kate Taylor-Wheat (Glenorie, NSW) Oscar B
7 Gitte Donvig (Highton, Vic) Port Said 10
8 Nadia Coghlan (Galston, NSW) Northern Campion
9 Maree Tomkinson (Wallan, Vic) Rodrigo III
10 Vanessa Way (New Plymouth, NZL) KH Arvan
11 Fiona McNaught (Boneo, Vic) Ostra
12 Tor Van Den Berge (Biddaddaba, NSW) Fishermans Friend
13 Nicky Pope (Auckland, NZL) Fararchie Wild card
14 Louisa Hill (South Auckland, NZL) Bates Antonello Wild card
15 Sally Evans (Ballina, NSW) A'Seduction Wild card