IRELAND's Judy Reynolds and the Joe and Kathleen Reynolds-owned gelding Vancouver K today secured a place in next month's FEI Dressage World Cup Final, following another hugely impressive performance in the last qualifying round at 's-Hertogenbosch in The Netherlands.
Reynolds started the day in 12th place on the World Cup league table and needed to at least maintain that position to gain one of the coveted places on offer for the annual showpiece. Drawn sixth to go of the 14 starters in the Freestyle to Music Grand Prix, Reynolds and her 17-year-old son of Jazz took the lead with an impressive score of 79.435%. They would go on to finish in ninth place at the end of the competition, a result which saw Reynolds move up to 11th on the league table and safely through to the World Cup Final.
Victory in 's-Hertogenbosch went to Denmark's Daniel Bachmann-Andersen with Blue Hors Zack on a score of 84.890%. Germany's Helen Langehanenberg and Damsey FRH finished second (84.875%), with Isabell Werth (GER) finishing third with Emilio (82.930%).
The 2019 FEI Dressage World Cup Final takes place in Gothenburg, Sweden from April 3rd to 7th, where Judy Reynolds will make her third appearance at a World Cup Final having finished eighth in 2016 and fourth in 2017, and is now looking forward to another massive occasion.
A delighted Judy Reynolds said: "2016 was our first experience of a final – also in Gothenburg - and it was great! It was such a feeling of accomplishment to be a part of the FEI Dressage World Cup Final and we enjoyed every minute of it. Finishing eighth was a bonus. The following year we were at the finals in Omaha (USA), this was another great experience and a fourth-place finish was incredible. It was only later that I realised how close we were to the podium."
This latest result crowns a fantastic few months for Judy Reynolds, having recorded several top-six World Cup finishes, including at Neumünster in Germany where she set a new Freestyle to Music Grand Prix Irish record score of 82.750% on her way to a third place finish on the podium.
HOLSTEIN CROWNS IT
It has been a perfect St Patrick's weekend for Irish Dressage, with reigning Irish national champion Heike Holstein and her 10-year-old Irish-bred mare Sambuca securing qualification for the 2019 FEI European Dressage Championships following a seventh place finish in the Grand Prix at Keysoe in Great Britain on Friday. With fellow Irish riders Judy Reynolds (Vancouver K) and Kate Dwyer (Snowdon Faberge) already qualified for the FEI European Dressage Championships, Holstein's qualification allows Ireland to field a team of at least three riders and horses in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, next August. Ireland last competed in the team competition at the FEI European Dressage Championships in Hickstead, Great Britain in 2003.
Gillian Kyle, chairperson of the Horse Sport Ireland Dressage and Para-Dressage High Performance committee, said "This is brilliant news. We have a number of riders seeking to qualify for the 2019 Europeans and the plan is to have a squad to select from for Rotterdam. Our aim is to qualify a team for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics."