Ireland's Judy Reynolds qualified for Saturday's Grand Prix freestyle to music when finishing 14th in Friday's Grand Prix, the opening competition at the FEI dressage World Cup finals in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Although her mount, the 17-year-old Jazz gelding Vancouver K, was lit up by the electric atmosphere in the packed Scandinavium Arena, the Kildare native, who was drawn first to go of the 18 competitors, scored 69.860 per cent which was comfortably above the 60 per cent mark needed to qualify for Saturday’s Kür.
The Grand Prix was won by the world no 1, Germany's Isabel Werth riding her 14-year-old mare Weihegold Old. Werth, who is biding to win her third successive and fifth overall title, achieved a score of 81.755 while the world no 2, Laura Graves of the USA who was runner-up in 2017 and 2018 and at last year's World Equestrian Games, finished second with Verdades on 80.109. Denmark's Daniel Bachmann Andersen scored 78.152 to place third on the one-eyed stallion Blue Hors Zack.
The freestyle in Gothenburg, which gets under way at 3pm Irish time, will be closely followed in Cavan where Dressage Ireland’s winter championships are taking place throughout Saturday and Sunday.
There are no Irish riders competing in the FEI show jumping World Cup finals in Sweden where, going into Sunday's two-round title decider, the lead is held by Spain's Eduardo Alvarez Aznar (Pokfeller de Pleville Bois Magot) ahead of Sweden's Peder Fredricson (Catch Me Not S) and Switzerland's Steve Guerdat (Alamo). The defending champion, the USA's Beezie Madden, is lying fourth on Breitling.
At the two-star show in Kronenberg, The Netherlands, Bertram Allen headed a one-two for Ireland in Friday's 1.45m jump-off class.
From a starting line-up of 78, 13 combinations progressed to the second round where seven again went clear. Of these, Wexford-born Allen set the fastest time of 42.29 with Ballywalter Farms’ nine-year-old Holstein mare Calafrieda to beat Waterford’s Jack O’Donohue into second place on Manton Grange Farms’ Kamara van’t Heike (43.64).
A large contingent of Irish riders are competing at the underage international show in Opglabbeek in Belgium where, on Friday, they recorded two wins.
First up, Co Laois's Jennifer Keuhnle, who also competes in eventing, landed the Junior Grand Prix over a 1.40m track on the Irish Sport Horse mare Consun which is owned by Damien Conway and Ed Tatum. The combination was fastest of the five who jumped double clear from a field of 76 starters. Consun, a nine-year-old bay by Air Jordan Z, was bred in Co Wicklow by Tina McDermott out of Highland Lady C (by Cavalier Royale).
The 1.30m Grand Prix for ponies was won by Katie Power. Only two of the 50 starters progressed to the jump-off round where both lowered one fence, Power doing so in 39.63 on Ghost Rider while France's Jeanne Hirel had to settle for second when home in 40.88 on Armene du Costilg. Waterford-born Power and Powers Equine's now 17-year-old grey gelding won the pony World Cup final in Mechelen just after Christmas.
In eventing news, New Zealand-born international show jumper Grant Wilson has been named as jumping coach to the senior team, replacing Ian Fearon who took a step back from his coaching role last month.