FEI World Cup Dressage Update: Preview Olympia  

13 Dec 2004

Fierce Contest in Festive Atmosphere Expected at Olympia 

For the first time ever, the famous London Olympia show will open its
doors early to host an FEI World Cup Dressage qualifier.

A strong field of 25 riders from nine countries has arrived in London to
contest the fourth leg of the Western European League season, which
commences tomorrow evening with the first round Grand Prix. The fifteen
best combinations then go through to the FEI Freestyle to music
qualifier on Wednesday evening, which will take place against a backdrop
of traditional Olympia festive spirit.

Spain's team silver and individual bronze Olympic medallist Beatriz
Ferrer-Salat will be hard to beat with her vivacious partner Beauvalais.
But Germany's Ann-Kathrin Linsenhoff, who currently heads the league
standings on 50 points, has arrived in London intending to extend her
ten-point lead with the ten-year-old mare Wahajama-UNICEF.

Compatriot Heike Kemmer, who has 28 points on her account, will partner
Albano, and as Isabell Werth has withdrawn, the German contingent is
down to four with Martina Hannover-Sternberg and Gina
Capellmann-Luetkemeier making up the quartet.

Especially after his fourth place in Maastricht last weekend, an
encouraged Carl Hester can be relied on to pull out the stops with
Escapado. The eight-strong British contingent also includes team trainer
Ferdi Eilberg who takes up the reins on Teutone, and his daughter Maria
who got a late ticket to ride Two Sox when Finland's Kyra Kyrklund
withdrew Max. The nine-year-old suffered a stiff neck just before
Stockholm and is still not match-fit.

Fiona Bigwood is due to unveil her recently acquired new ride Mr G de
Lully, formerly ridden by Switzerland's Jasmine Sanche-Burger and having
just moved over the Channel to Belgium, Wayne Channon is heading back to
campaign Lorenzo.

By no means least Richard Davison, who placed eleventh in Maastricht on
Ballaseyr Royale's first outing since Athens, reports the mare is tuned
up ready to compete on home ground.

Davison, who is also Olympia's technical advisor, reported today: " I've
been a big fan of the World Cup for years and it is very exciting that
it has come to Olympia for the first time. There's always a special
Christmas atmosphere here and although the spirit is very competitive -
this season's Final in Las Vegas is going to be very strong - everyone
is clearly in a party mood.