Equestrian Dressage

Isabell Werth takes World Cup Grand Prix win in Salzburg

Germany's six-time Olympic gold medallist finished ahead of team-mate Jessica von Bredow-Werndl and Sweden's Patrik Kittel.

By Rory Jiwani ·

Dressage superstar Isabell Werth made a successful return to action at the World Cup Western European League in Salzburg on Saturday (23 January).

Partnered by Weihegold, her mount at Rio 2016 where she won team gold and individual silver, the 51-year-old German scored 81.848 to take the Grand Prix test ahead of team-mate Jessica von Bredow-Werndl and Sweden's three-time Olympian Patrik Kittel.

This is the second leg of the Western European League with Denmark's Cathrine Dufour taking the opener on home soil in Aarhus last October.

All of the riders had to compete today to ensure they would participate in the weekend's big contest, the Grand Prix Freestyle, on Sunday.

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At September's German Championships, Werth won the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Freestyle on board Weihegold to take her national title tally to 16.

She was beaten by von Bredow-Werndl and TSF Dalera BB in the Grand Prix Special, the 34-year-old securing her first German senior crown.

Von Bredow-Werndl and Dalera were on course for a formidable score in excess of 80% in Salzburg, but a late error saw them finish on 79.630%.

That was good enough for second ahead of Kittel who scored 76.087% for his test on Delaunay OLD.

The Swede had an excellent outing, taking the last spot on the podium ahead of Rio 2016 team gold medallist Dorothee Schneider.

While Werth has spoken of her love for her other equine partner Bella Rose, with who she won double gold at the 2018 World Equestrian Games, she has won the last three World Cup Finals atop her Weihegold.

She was last to go and the world number two pairing - she and Bella Rose are number one - took a little while to get going, trailing von Bredow-Werndl during the early scoring.

But they produced the goods in the second half of their routine with wonderfully controlled walks and a stunning pirouette, and they will be hard to stop in Sunday's Grand Prix Freestyle.

The third and final leg of the Dressage World Cup Western European League is scheduled for 's-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands in mid-March with the World Cup Final in Gothenburg, Sweden from 31 March to 5 April.