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Ireland’s Heike Holstein and Sambuca finish sixth in Tokyo Olympics Dressage Grand Prix

General July 25, 2021

An excellent performance from Irish Dressage combination Heike Holstein and the Irish-bred mare Sambuca, saw them score 68.432% to finish sixth of 10 competitors in their Grand Prix Group D test today (Sunday) at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Heike Holstein on Sambuca during day 2 of the Dressage Team and Individual Qualifier at the Equestrian Park during the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Their score ultimately wasn’t enough to see them qualify for Wednesday’s Individual Final in Tokyo however it was another impressive display from Holstein who was competing at her fourth Olympics while 12-year-old Sambuca, whom Heike bred herself,  was making her Olympic debut.

Speaking after their performance, Heike said:

“I was really happy with her [Sambuca], she went into the ring and really concentrated. We had a few little errors that were my fault, in the first medium trot I had her back a bit too much. I was really happy with the passage and the piaffe has improved a lot, she was really relaxed in the walk and the changes were good. I timed the warm-up just right, I practiced it yesterday at the same time and I had more time today so I did less with her before I went in. She wasn’t exhausted but wasn’t too fresh. I was happy with most of it.”

“I am really proud of her. When she was a little foal I never thought that we would get this far, it is a long road and lots of things can happen. In 2019 I finally thought, this might happen!”

All Irish equestrian athletes at the Games are wearing yellow ribbons in commemoration of the loss of a highly talented young Irish athlete, Tiggy Hancock, in June. Also decorating Heike’s lapel was a beautiful pin designed by Tiggy’s mother specifically for the event.

When asked about the ribbon and pin, Heike proudly mentioned while pointing at them:

“Tiggy is at the Olympics in Tokyo and we are very proud to wear this for her.”

Heike Holstein on Sambuca during day 2 of the Dressage Team and Individual Qualifier at the Equestrian Park during the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Denmark’s Carina Cassoe Kruth (76.677% with Heiline’s Danciera) and USA’s Adrienne Lyle (74.876% with Salvino) have taken the two qualification places for the final from Group D while six more qualifying places will go to the next best scores across the six groups.

The Irish Eventing team get their Olympic campaign underway on Friday while Ireland’s Show Jumping team will be in action at the Games on Tuesday August 3rd.

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