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REEM ACRA Series re-commences in Amsterdam tomorrow - Cornelissen favourite after victory in today's Grand Prix. The Netherlands' Adelinde Cornelissen looks set to take the seventh leg of the 2010/2011 Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage season by storm when the series re-commences on her home turf in Amsterdam tomorrow after partnering the fabulous 14 year old gelding Jerich Parzival to a clear-cut victory in today's Grand Prix at the Dutch fixture. Cornellisen had an advantage of more than four percentage points over runner-up Patrick Kittel riding Watermill Scandic for Sweden, and all five judges - Holland's Mrs. E. Mouw and Mr. W. Ernes, Mr J.M. Roudier from France, Belgium's Mr. J. van Daele and Great Britain's Mr. S. Clarke - put her in No. 1 spot.
With only three further qualifying legs remaining before the final which kicks off in Leipzig, Germany at the end of April the pressure is mounting with every round, and Amsterdam attracted a strong line-up of 20 top dressage contenders. The top-15 from today's Grand Prix have qualified for tomorrow's Freestyle and amongst the seven flying the host nation flag will be Hans Peter Minderhoud who secured maximum points at the sixth leg in Mechelen, Belgium in December. This morning however, he had to settle for eighth place with IPS Tango, while it was team-mate Sander Marijnissen who produced the second-best Dutch result when slotting in just ahead of him in seventh, riding Moedwil.
A total of six nations were represented in today's competition, but Poland's sole contender, Michal Rapcewicz, failed to make the cut into tomorrow's Freestyle when finishing in 16th place. Kittel however will be joined by Swedish counterpart Nina Hoffmann while Richard Davison flies the British flag, and Stefan Van Ingelgem and Jeroen Devroe are competing for Belgium while the Dutch contingent also includes Lotje Schoots, Diederik Van Silfhout, Marlies Van Baalen, and Christa Laarakkers.
Cornelissen's strongest opponents however may prove to be German. Isabell Werth steered Warum Nicht FRH into third place today while Helen Langehanenberg finished fourth with Responsible, and there is an air of quiet confidence emanating from the riders whose country will host the series finale in a few months time.
They have total control at the top of the leaderboard, with Ulla Salzgeber in pole position and Werth in second place ahead of Richard Davison in third. Salzgeber picked up early points with victory, riding Wekana, while competing in the Central European League at Kaposvar in Hungary last October, and strengthened her position with runner-up points from Lyon, France and Mechelen, Belgium along with her winning result at Frankfurt just before Christmas. Her total of 74 points leaves her at the top of the table a full 17 points clear of Werth who recorded a back-to-back double of wins in the opening two legs of the 2010/2011 Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage season at Odense, Denmark and Lyon, France along with a third-place finish in Frankfurt, Germany. Davison meanwhile collected his first qualifying points when topping the opening round of the Central European League series at Lipica in Slovenia last May, adding further points with good placings at Lyon, Olympia in London, and Mechelen as 2010 drew to a close.
Next in line at this stage of the season is America's Catherine Haddad while Germany's Helen Langehanenberg lies fifth. The latter has been very consistent, placing on all four of her outings in the current series. The top-ten placings on the leaderboard at present include three German and three Dutch riders, but it is the former who hold the whip hand with three in the top five. Minderhoud and Cornelissen lie sixth and seventh respectively while their Dutch counterpart, Christa Laarakkers, shares eighth place with Sweden's Patrik Kittel. Denmark's Princess Nathalie Zu Sayn-Wittgenstein is in tenth position.
The seventh leg of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage series begins at 12.30 local time tomorrow and first into the ring will be the host nation's Lotje Schoots riding Equitop Torricelli LS. The main action can be expected to be played out by the final five however, led by Kittel and his 12 year old stallion Watermill Scandic and followed by Langehanenberg (Responsible), Cornelissen (Jerich Parzival), Werth (Warum Nicht) and finally Davison (Artemis). The Germans may be in charge on the league table, but Cornelissen and Parzival were highly impressive when recording their double of victories at Stockholm, Sweden in November and at Olympia in London in December, and after today's result must surely be the ones to beat......
FACTS AND FIGURES
Defending champion, The Netherlands' Edward Gal, who won the sixth leg of the 2010/2011 Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage series at Mechelen, Belgium in December, is automatically qualified for the final having fulfilled the necessary qualification criteria.
The four best results of each rider count towards the final.
A total of 10 qualifying competitions take place before the final.
The final will be staged in Leipzig, Germany from 27 April to 1 May.
Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage - Standings after Round 6 in Mechelen (NED):
1. Ulla Salzgeber GER - 74
2. Isabell Werth GER - 57
3. Richard Davison GBR - 55
4. Catherine Haddad USA - 54
5. Helen Langehanenberg GER - 51
6. Hans Peter Minderhoud NED - 46
7. Adelinde Cornelissen - 43
8. Christa Laarakkers NED - 33
8. Patrik Kittel SWE - 33
10. Nathalie zu Sayn-Wittgenstein DEN - 30
11. Nina Hoffmann SWE - 29
11. Sune Hansen DEN - 29
13. Matthias Alexander Rath GER - 28
14. Aat Van Essen NED - 26
15. Ulrike Prunthaller AUT - 24
16. Anna Ross-Davies GBR - 23
16. Mikaela Lindh FIN - 23
18. Claudia Fassaert BEL - 21
18. Heike Kemmer GER - 21
18. Sylvia Zimmer GER - 21
Western European League Calendar 2010/2011:
1 Odense (DEN), 21-24 October
2 Lyon (FRA), 27 October - 1 November
3 Stockholm (SWE), 26-28 November
4 London Olympia (GBR), 14-15 December
5 Frankfurt (GER), 15-19 December
6 Mechelen (BEL), 26-30 December
7 Amsterdam (NED), 20-23 January
8 Neumünster (GER), 17-20 February
9 Göteborg (SWE), 24-27 February
10 's-Hertogenbosch (NED), 24-27 March
FINAL Leipzig (GER), 27 April - 1 May
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