Rio Olympian Julie Brougham and her German import Vom Feinsten today picked up her final necessary FEI World Equestrian Games qualifying mark making her eligible for selection.
Brougham and Steiny scored 69.913% to take out the CDI3* FEI Grand Prix at the Bates NZ Dressage Championships with fellow WEG hopeful John Thompson (Hamilton) and JHT Antonello second on 68.37%, Abbie Deken (Taranaki) and KH Ambrose third on 67.783% and Wendi Williamson (Kumeu) aboard Don Amour MH fourth on 67.304%.
Brougham was rapt, and particularly because four of the five judges – 5* Eddy De Wolff (NED), Ricky MacMillan (AUS), Elke Ebert (GER) and Sue Hobson (NZL) – each gave her higher than 70%. “That is very encouraging for me,” said Brougham.
She acknowledged her horse had done better Grand Prix tests – including a 73.16% at Masterton in January – but she was still pleased. “I think today he was a bit flatter, which had a lot to do with the surface. He doesn’t go as well when he sinks in. There were little things today that we could have done better, but on the whole he knows his job and just gets on and does it.”
Highlights for Brougham were Steiny’s zig zags and his “flawless” pirouettes. She was now looking forward to the Grand Prix Special tomorrow. “It’s nice to get that final mark ticked off now.”
Thompson aboard JHT Antonello and Williamson on Dejavu MH have already notched the necessary marks, but Williamson is now chasing qualification aboard her younger horse Don Amour MH.
Wendy Hamerton, ESNZ’s sport manager and the dressage chef d’equipe for WEG says it is great to see the potential coming through. “Julie and John both put in really good scores, but clearly there is the potential to be scoring higher than these marks as their campaigns progress with more consistent competition,” said Hamerton. “I am really excited about the potential of Wendi’s second horse as well, I think they were the big improvers today. He is a horse with a huge amount of potential but just not as much experience.”
All the riders today had made little mistakes here and there, and Hamerton said Thompson would be ruing his which was probably the difference between first and second.
“It was an expensive error for him,” she said. “All of the four top placegtters though showed some pretty starry bits and I am sure they will all be better in the Grand Prix Special tomorrow now they have one under their belts.”
Bates NZ Dressage Championships 2018, Superior Rubber Services North Island Super 5 Final L9 CDI3* FEI Grand Prix: Julie Brougham (Palmerston North) Vom Feinsten 69.913% 1, John Thompson (Hamilton) JHT Antonello 68.37% 2, Abbie Deken (Taranaki) KH Ambrose 67.783% 3, Wendi Williamson (Kumeu) Don Amour MH 67.304% 4.
By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison
Photos by Libby Law/ESNZ