Denmark’s Cathrine Dufour achieves scintillating FEI Dressage World Cup double 

1 MB Cathrine Dufour (DEN)

The Danish rider beat competition from Germany’s Isabell Werth and Jessica von Bredow-Werndl to take first place in the first leg of the World Cup in Aarhus, Denmark. 

In a repetition of last season’s opening round of the FEI Dressage World Cup, Denmark’s Cathrine Dufour rode 10-year-old Bohemian to win both the Grand Prix and Freestyle events in front of a home crowd in Aarhus, Denmark on 17-18 October. The Danish number one produced a stunning display to take the top honours, with Germany's five-time series champion lsabell Werth finishing in second place with Emilio and Jessica von Bredow-Werndl taking third spot with Zaire-E.

Saturday’s action saw Dufour and Bohemian post a score of 88.435, far ahead of Werth and Bredow-Werndl who both scored 77. In Sunday’s event, the competition was much closer, with Dufour’s score of 88.200 - including marks as high as 93 per cent for artistry - narrowly beating Werth’s 87.845. And there was even more reason for the crowd at the Danish National Equestrian Centre to celebrate, as Carina Cassøe Krüth and Heiline’s Danciera finished fourth.

Speaking after the event, Dufour was full of praise for her horse Bohemian, stating: “He hasn’t reached anything like his limits, he’s still developing mentally and there’s definitely more room for improvement from him. I’m delighted with him.”

Back in March, Dufour confirmed that Bohemian will be her first choice horse for the Danish Olympic team when they compete in Tokyo, taking the mantle from her long-time number 1 Cassidy, with whom she won the GP Special bronze and the 2019 European Championships.

The Danish rider explained her choice, saying: "Cassidy is 17 years old, but super fit and going on really nicely, but it is a quite tough travel to go there, and the atmosphere can be a struggle for the horses, especially older horses…

“If they are on the same level, I would probably go with Bohemian, because he is younger, and hopefully I can keep Cassidy longer in the sport if I spare him for the travel."

The next leg of the FEI Dressage World Cup takes place in Salzburg, Austria on 5 and 6 December, with further events scheduled in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands before the long-anticipated Finals take place in Gothenburg, Sweden in the spring.

Equestrian, which first featured in the Paris 1900 Games, has been a staple of the Olympics for over 100 years. Sixty horse and athlete combinations will take part in the Olympic Dressage events for Tokyo 2020, which will include both team and individual events.

The Tokyo 2020 equestrian competition begins in Equestrian Park on Saturday 24 July.