Equestrian: Kuerten puts gloss on preparations for World Cup assault
Jessica Kuerten and Denis Lynch head to 's-Hertogenbosch in Holland for the last qualifying leg of the 2009/2010 Rolex FEI World Cup series this weekend.
Kuerten is one of the title favourites following an impressive run with Castle Forbes Libertina which has left her with 73 points and in third place on the Western European League.
Lynch, though, has no chance of making it to the final in Geneva next month after accumulating only two points over seven competitions.
Kuerten also brings her other two mares, Castle Forbes Cosma and Myrtille Paulois, to Holland as she puts the finishing touches to her preparations for the Swiss finale, but 's-Hertogenbosch has attracted a super-strong line-up, so the last few qualifying points will be hard won.
Amongst those competing this weekend is 68-year-old Hugo Simon from Austria, World Cup champion in 1979.
It is still unclear, however, whether Germany's Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, who vowed to do so last autumn, will defend the title she claimed for the third time in Las Vegas last April riding the great Shutterfly. The 40-year-old gave birth to her first daughter three weeks ago and the final begins at the Palexpo Arena in Geneva in three weeks' time.
The 25th FEI World Cup Dressage final also takes place in 's-Hertogenbosch this weekend with huge expectations of another sparkling performance from the horse who has set the dressage world alight over the last 12 months.
The 10-year-old black stallion Moorlands Totillas has been smashing records with sensational results that suggest the entire scoring system may have to be revised. He's in a league of his own in terms of athleticism, presence and spectator appeal.
His spine-chilling performances in the Freestyle to Music for rider Edward Gal have consigned nine-time World Cup winner and reigning Olympic champion Anky van Grunsven to the also-rans.
It seems that the only thing that could stop Gal and Totilas from adding the 2009/2010 World Cup Dressage honours to the European Grand Prix and Freestyle titles they won last summer is the heavy weight of those expectations.