Words: Jess Roberts
Both riders will be taking home a bonus $500 after their Grand Prix performances gained them membership to dressage’s elusive 70% Club at the Bates National Dressage Championships in Feilding this weekend.
The 70% club has only had one member since 2015, when Penny Castle cracked the magic score at the Horse of the Year show – until now. Both Wendi Williamson (Dejavu MH) and John Thompson (JHT Antonello) earned their entry tickets at the Bates National Championships yesterday, in the Matthews Hanoverians FEI CDI-W Grand Prix class. From a line-up of seven competitors (sadly missing Olympian Julie Brougham, who had to withdraw her Rio 2016 mount Vom Feinsten after a slight lameness in the lead up to the event), Williamson won convincingly with a score of 71.22, closely followed by Thompson on 70.64. Last years Burkner Medal winner Thompson will surely be looking for a repeat of his success, although he will be given a run for his money with Williamson also hunting down the title. The freestyle, featured in this evenings Dressage Spectacular, may well be the decider with a win in the Kur worth one and a half times the points of the GP and GP Special.