IRISH Olympian Anna Merveldt and the eleven-year-old Lusitano stallion Esporim scored 71.191% to place second in the Grand Prix Special at the three-star show in Ornago, Italy on Sunday. The result came following a second place finish in Friday Grand Prix.
"I had planned that Ornago would be a warm-up for the FEI World Cup show in Lyon, France at the end of the month. Unfortunately Lyon was cancelled this week due to the coronavirus pandemic," said Anna after the result.
"Esporim is getting better and better all the time. The Grand Prix score of 70.761% on Friday was another good step in the right direction. I opted for the Grand Prix Special today to technically perfect his piaffe and passage trot movements and was really pleased with the test. I'm delighted renowned freestyle composer Michael Erdmann is supporting me and many thanks to him for my new Spanish-themed freestyle to music programme. It is a much stronger routine and really coming together with Esporim. I now plan to compete, Covid-19 permitting, at the FEI World Cup show in Salzburg, Austria."
Austria's Astrid Neumayer and Zap Zap completed a double scoring 73.149% for the win. Italy's Francesco Zaza and Whispering Romance placed third on a 70.553% total. Italian-based Irish rider James Connor and his 15-year-old Oldenburg gelding Casino' Royal scored 66.532% for eighth place.