Mon, Nov 27, 2023 10:35 PM

Dressage duo book Saudi spot


Peter Jones

Newly-crowned Marlborough Sportsperson of the Year Melissa Galloway and her 13-year-old gelding Windermere J’Obei are a step closer to earning a start at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

On Saturday, the Tuamarina-based duo won the Pacific League World Cup in Cambridge, earning a much-coveted place at the 2024 FEI Dressage World Cup final in Saudi Arabia in April and pushing their case for Olympic inclusion.

Melissa and ‘Joey’ scored 79.240% in the GP freestyle competition, slightly off her previous best of 79.865%. The musical performance result came after winning the Grand Prix a day earlier with a personal best score of 74.218%.

Fellow New Zealander Wendi Williamson on Don Vito MH, 11-year-old gelding also bred in New Zealand, was the only other combination in the league final, and was awarded 73.630%.

The Pacific League is the only one of the four geographic divisions that holds a final to determine the single representative among the starting lineup of 18 riders and horses for the elite event in Riyadh.

Thirty-year-old Melissa, the highest-ranked dressage rider in the Pacific League nations of Australia and New Zealand and ranked 33 in the world, spent most of the spring and summer of 2022 in Europe leading to the world championships in Denmark last year. She resumed competing at home in March and, since then, the partnership has won all 13 starts in Australia and New Zealand.

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