Dressage – Tong and Pompidou continue to show promise
- 21 July 2013, 08:36
IRELAND’S Roland Tong produced another polished international performance at the CDI*** in Deauville on Sunday to clinch second place in the Grand Prix Freestyle.
Riding Sarah Wrigley’s gelding Pompidou, he was awarded a score of 72.175%, less than half a mark behind the winners, Great Britain’s Dan Sherriff and Bayford Hall Dallaglio. Dutch rider Jonna Schelstraete was third on 70.2%, with the former Carl Hester ride Liebling II.
Using his dramatic Peter Pan soundtrack, which earned him top marks in the Kur at the CDI Compiegne in June, Tong earned the highest technical score from the ground jury.
It was only Sherriff’s better scores for artistic impression that allowed him edge ahead. Two of the five judges actually marked Tong and his fifteen year old partner as the winners, and judge at H, the Australian Mary Seefried, awarded him a high score of 74.375%.
In Friday’s Grand Prix, Tong and Pompidou managed ninth place with an average of 66.362%, their strong performance compromised by a large discrepancy in the marks. While four of the five judges were united within 0.3 of a %, Belgian jury member Mariette Withages was almost 3% lower than her peers, placing him 21st on 64.149%. Had it not been for this low mark, he would likely have been further up the leader board.
In her first season of international big tour with her mother’s stallion Reve D’Or, Kate Dwyer also put up a very promising show at the French venue, for 64.447% and 22nd place in this class. This partnership’s scores have been consistently increasing throughout the summer and they went on to finish tenth in the Grand Prix Special.
These impressive results undoubtedly bode well for the forthcoming European championships in Hernig, Denmark, for which Ireland already has three riders qualified. Dane Rawlins, who put in a solid performance at the recent CDI Rotterdam, and Olympian Anna Merveldt join Tong as the riders currently eligible to compete, while Tong and Rawlins are named alongside Dwyer on the Irish team which is to contest the Nations Cup at Hickstead next weekend.
This will be the first team Ireland has fielded in this year’s FEI Nations Cup Dressage series, and it reflects how Irish dressage is developing greater strength in depth at international level.