“This is the first CDI that ten-year-old
Immerdale has done… there’s going
to be considerable improvement.”
5. William Matthew on Mysterious Star with a score of 69.174% at Exloo CDI3* in Holland on 4 May, 2023. Will is out and about doing very well in really big CDI4* competitions in Europe. Competing in these big international shows is historically what Australians have avoided when seeking Australian team selection. So far Will’s top score is unchanged, but I have to say he has been fronting up at very tough shows. This is quite a different approach for an Australian rider. We are all wishing Will and Mysterious Star the very best of luck in this head-to-head tactic with the best and where it leads will be fascinating.
“Jayden and both his
horses are on the improve.”
HEAD-TO-HEAD AT BONEO PARK
So, this is a huge shake-up in the top 10 Australian dressage rankings. All of these scores are now high enough to count as qualifying scores for the Paris Olympics. The next big head-to-head is the Grand Prix CDI-W at the StableGround Australian Dressage Championships at Boneo Park. All of the Australian-based riders on the top 10 list will be there except for Robert Schmerglatt and Quando Queen.
The riders that were on the top 10 longlist who have been rudely dumped as a result of the recent high-scoring inclusions from the Brisbane CDI3* include Jessica Dertell on her second horse Syriana, Charlotte Phillips riding CP Dresden, Pauline Carnovale riding Captain Cooks, Sue Hearn riding Eminent and Michelle Baker riding Bradgate Park Puccini. These four riders are all fronting up at Boneo Park and it will be riveting to see if they can respond.
There are a couple of new and exciting challengers also at this Grand Prix CDI-W competition. Special attention will be on Dave McKinnon riding Forlan, who is owned by Carol Oately. Dave and Forlan scored 72.848% in the Grand Prix at the NSW State Dressage Championships on 1 September, 2023. This was a national class and so does not count for Paris or Australian team selection, however, the National Championships at Boneo Park certainly do count. Wow! That would be so exciting if this partnership could step out and reproduce that form in the international arena.
Also of interest will be Justine Greer on her horse Yarramee Fonzie. Yarramee Fonzie has had only a few starts in national-level Grand Prix tests. The results have been very good and certainly at Small Tour level, Yarramee Fonzie has been scoring up into the low 70% bracket. There is no doubt at national level Justine Greer and Yarramee Fonzie are going from strength to strength. Can they maintain the momentum into their first CDI at the National Championships at Boneo Park?
Finally, there will be one New Zealand rider, Melissa Galloway riding Windermere J’Obei W at the Australian National Championships. Although Melissa is not a candidate for the Australian top 10, she is one tough New Zealand girl who is going to try very hard to embarrass the top Australian riders and win against them on their home ground. The last time Melissa was in Australia was at the Sydney CDI on 27 April this year where she and Windermere J’Obei W won everything from the CDI3* Grand Prix to the CDI3* Grand Prix Special and CDI3* Grand Prix Freestyle to Music. She belted the heck out of us Australians with scores always above 70%. Of course, Melissa is always welcome here and competition at this standard is very good for all of us. The big tip from me is that Melissa will really have to work very hard for a repeat performance. What I can promise you is that Melissa will be trying, and this is going to be fascinating viewing.
I do expect my Australian top 10 Paris shortlist will have another major makeover after the Australian Championships at Boneo Park. Watch this spot!
So for this month that is that. This coming month we do have a lot of action in both the dressage arena and the eventing discipline. This should make next month’s column very interesting.