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Posted by Sue Birch on 06/05/2019.

Tomkinson wins Grand Prix Special CDI at OTTO SPORT AUSTRALIA Sydney CDI3*

Victorian rider Maree Tomkinson riding DMJ Donna Elena has taken out the Grand Prix CDI Special during the third day of competition at the OTTO SPORT AUSTRALIA Sydney CDI3* at Sydney International Equestrian Centre (SIEC).

Rain throughout the day failed to dampen the spirits of competitors and spectators alike, and competition during thePages Hire Grand Prix Special was fierce – if not a little damp – in SIEC's indoor arena this afternoon.

Tomkinson and Donna Elena put in a solid performance in the 11-strong field to record a score of 68.830%, more than three per cent higher than their score in yesterday's OTTO SPORT AUSTRALIA Grand Prix CDI.

Donna Elena was an orphaned foal bred by Dorthe M Jepson of DMJ horses, and Tomkinson discovered the mare as a four-year-old while competing in Germany in the World Equestrian Games.

Not yet nine years old, Tomkinson said prior to the Sydney CDI that she had high hopes for the horse's future.

"My feeling is that she will be a super horse for the future of the sport," she said. "She really has no weakness, she has super gaits, a wonderful character and outstanding rideability and trainability.

"With more balance and competition experience she will be a force to be reckoned with.

"I believe in Donna like no other horse I have ever trained. She is destined for greatness, a seriously international horse."

Competitors in the Mulawa Performance FEI 16-25 years Grand Prix (CDI-U25) warmed up in heavy rain before enjoying the luxury of SIEC's indoor in the early afternoon, with the weather failing to make a dent in the performance of eventual winner Jemma Heran riding Medelunds Mefisto.

The Queensland-based combination looked a picture despite a small mishap on the final centreline to achieve 66.641%, ahead of NSW rider Sarah Farraway and Arawn in second place on 65.128%.

Heran hails from a showing background and only started riding dressage in the past year, importing the Michellino gelding from Hubertus Schmidt of Germany.

He warmed up really well today considering the heavy rain and bad weather,” she said.

In the test he really picked up in the atmosphere and just gave me a really good ride.

He scared himself on the last centreline but that's OK. “

Also present at today's event was Australian Grand Prix rider, Briana Burgess, who is in the country ahead of her move to the United States.

At Sydney CDI on coaching duties, Burgess is currently based in Germany but is planning to take up a position as head rider at a dressage training and sales facility in Wellington, Florida.

Burgess said she had been conducting a number of clinics in Australia since her arrival three weeks ago, and from what she had seen, the future of the sport of dressage was very secure.

I've had great riders and horses in Brisbane, in Melbourne and in Hobart,” she said. “I hope I can keep that rolling a little bit more, that I can revisit these places in the next few weeks and months while I am waiting for my visa.

[It's been] very, very positive, and I think the future is great for Australian dressage.”

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