CANNES, France, June 12 – Isabell Werth rode Warum Nicht FRH to victory in the Exquis World Dressage Masters Grand Prix Freestyle Saturday night, the event providing the first victory for the German pair in more than a year and since returning to competition after a six-month break to give birth to a son.
Isabell, competing in her third straight €100,000 (US$121,000) WDM CDI5*, scored 77.950 per cent with Belgium’s Stefan van Ingelgem and Withney van’t Genthof in second place on 70.90 per cent and Poland’s Michael Rapcewicz on Randon third on 69.20 per cent.
She was smiling happily at the end of the ride on the 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding on whom she won the World Cup Final in 2007, although she did not get to give her final salute until about midnight as the €60,000 (US$72,700) freestyle did not start until completion of the Global Champions Tour jumping Grand Prix in this French Riviera resort.
CANNES, France, June 10 – Isabell Werth on Warum Nicht led a German sweep of the top three places in the Exquis World Dressage Masters Grand Prix presented by Massa Stud Thursday, but was disappointed the horse was distracted by flowers blowing in the wind.
Riding in her third WDM this year – she came third in Palm Beach in February and at Munich last month – and her first ever competition in Cannes, Isabell and her 2007 World Cup champion mount scored 71.489 per cent, a fraction ahead of Anja Plönzke on Le Mont d’Or with 71.447 per cent and Matthias Alexander Rath on Triviant UNICEF with 70.851 per cent.
This French Riviera resort was the launching pad in 2008 for the world’s richest lineup of dressage competitions that has grown to five premier CDI5* competitions this year, each one with prize money of €100,000 (US$120,000). Falsterbo, Sweden has been added to the calendar this year and followed by the 2010 finale at Hickstead, England.
CANNES, France, June 9 — Isabell Werth on her World Cup champion mount Warum Nicht top the field for the Exquis World Dressage Masters starting Thursday and that will include riders from Brazil for the first time, including Luiza Almeida who was the youngest ever dressage Olympian at the 2008 Beijing Games.
This glamorous French Riviera resort was the launching pad for WDM two years ago and is now the midway point in the lineup that this year has been enlarged to five premier competitions on both sides of the Atlantic each offering €100,000 (US$119,350) in prize money.
The Cannes CDI5* event kicks off Thursday with the €10,000 (US$11,935) Grand Prix presented by Exquis, Lusitano Sport/Elevage Massa. The €30,000 (US$35,800) Grand Prix Special presented by Moorlands and Massa Autopneu on Friday and the €60,000 ($71,600) Grand Prix Freestyle presented by Exquis World Dressage Masters and Groupe Massa on Saturday, will both be at night under lights.
Isabell Werth is writing a diary for HorsesintheSouth.com as she prepares for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games from 25 September-10 October. Here is Isabell’s first entry.
Could you describe a typical training day?
Since my son Frederik’s birth last year the day now starts with him! I then start with the horses at around 9.00am and I can ride about seven horses per day. The rest of the day is now usually based around the stable business and Frederik.
How many horses do you have at the moment?
At the moment we have around about 40 horses under the saddle, so my whole team is very busy!
Photo Caption: The Netherlands’ Edward Gal and Moorlands Totilas swept to victory in the seventh leg of the FEI World Cup™ Dressage series in Amsterdam this afternoon to rocket up to the top of the series leaderboard.
Amsterdam (Ned), 23 January 2010 The Netherlands’ Edward Gal and Moorlands Totilas swept to victory in the seventh leg of the FEI World Cup™ Dressage series in Amsterdam this afternoon to rocket up to the top of the series leaderboard. Once again thrilling both judges and spectators alike, the dynamic Dutch duo recorded a score of 87.70% as they high-stepped their way to success with their unique sparkle and panache. But the most remarkable thing about today’s competition was the exceptionally high level of performance throughout the entire class. The sport of dressage has raised its game in dramatic fashion over the past 12 months, and horses and riders are meeting the challenge head-on.
Today, Great Britain’s Laura Bechtolsheimer produced a wonderful test from Mistral Hojris to slot into second place with a score that was only just over four points behind the spectacular winners while Holland’s Imke Schellekens-Bartels and Hunter Douglas Sunrise, double-winners already this season, finished third. The host country’s Anky Van Grunsven and Painted Black were fourth ahead of Germany’s Isabell Werth and Warum Nicht FRH in fifth, and Bartels now jointly-shares top spot on the league table with Gal.
HELD THE LEAD
It was Hans Peter Minderhoud who held the lead going into the second-half of the competition following a bright and happy test from Exquis Nadine. The 15 year old chestnut mare executed her extended trot and passage with lady-like delicacy and precision, and her forward-moving canter was perfectly balanced by her Dutch rider’s sensitive and sympathetic hand to achieve a mark of 76.70%.
This would only be good enough for sixth place in the final analysis however, and the first to better that score was multiple champion Isabell Werth from Germany. Quickly back in harness after the birth of her baby son Frederick last October the 40 year old rider has lost none of her competitive edge, but despite excellent pirouettes and canter-changes there was a loss of rhythm several times so the score of 79.80% from Warum Nicht might easily have been improved upon. Next to go, and fourth-last into the arena, was Bechtolsheimer and the chestnut gelding Mistral Hojris whose confidence and character seem to have grown in leaps and bounds since claiming team silver and individual bronze for Great Britain at the Alltech FEI European Dressage Championships in Windsor last summer. They showed exuberant half-pass, piaffe and extended trot that oozed quality while Bechtolsheimer’s ear for her musical score ensured their timing was impeccable. Taking the lead with 82.30% on the board, they were always going to finish strongly.
But Moorlands Totilas had the edge once more, although his rider has clearly learned the weight of the expectations now placed upon his able shoulders. Every time this partnership go in the ring now they are expected to break yet another world record, which is not altogether surprising since they have done so three times over the past 12 months. At Olympia in London just before Christmas they wowed the crowd with a breath-taking performance that achieved a spectacular score of 92.30% to finish a full 10 marks ahead of their nearest challengers, fellow-Dutch team members Adelinde Cornelissen and Parzival. Today’s test was not of the same calibre – but it was still awesome and in a class of its own.
“Totilas felt a bit tense today” Gal admitted afterwards, “but he is an amazing horse to ride and he exceeds my expectations time and time again. I want to ride better next time” he said, but added, “people have high expectations though. When I was in Stuttgart I scored 79% and I was receiving text messages in which people were asking me – “Oh, didn’t it go well?!” – and I would be like, well Yes, it did, but I can’t score really high every time!”.
Second-last to go was Van Grunsven who understands all too well the situation in which Gal now finds himself. The reigning Olympic champion has won more titles than most people would ever dream of and was an almost-untouchable force in the sport for many years, but the arrival of a whole new generation of contenders has changed everything. She demonstrated her determination to stay in the game today however with a great test from Painted Black which slotted her into fourth behind last-to-go Schellekens-Bartels who produced a lovely performance from Sunrise for third place today, and level-pegging with Gal at the top of the FEI World Cup™ Dressage leaderboard.
And with just two more qualifying legs remaining – at Neumunster (Ger) and Goteborg (Swe) next month – before the final at ‘s-Hertogenbosch (Ned) in March that is a good place to be…..
RESULT: 1, Moorlands Totilas (Edward Gal) Ned 87.00%; 2, Mistral Hojris (Laura Bechtolsheimer) GBR 82.30%; 3, Hunter Douglas Sunrise (Imke Schellekens-Bartels) Ned 82.05%; 4, IPS Painted Black (Anky Van Grunsven) Ned 81.20%; 5, Warum Nicht FRH (Isabell Werth) Ger 79.80%; 6, Exquis Nadine (Hans Peter Minderhoud) Ned 76.70%; 7, Watermill Scandic HBC (Patrik Kittel) Swe 75.50%; 8, Nartan (Jeannette Haazen) Ned 74.75%; 9, Apollo Van het Vijverhof (Jeroen Devroe) Bel 74.40%; 10, Ovation (Christa Laarakkers) Ned 73.55%; 11, Premier (Aat Van Essen) Ned 72.70%; 12, Krawall (Jenny Schreven) Ned 72.40%; 13, Poko Loko (Manon Van Hylckama Vlieg) Ned 69.10%; 14, Randon (Michal Rapcewicz) Pol 68.25%; 15, Wito Corleone 2 (Alexandra Bimschas) Ger 67.40%.
2009/2010 FEI WORLD CUP™ DRESSAGE – STANDINGS after Round 7 at Amsterdam (Ned) – Provisional
1, Edward Gal, Imke Schellekens-Bartels – 55
3. Jeannette Haazen – 48
4. Anky Van Grunsven – 47
5. Adelinde Cornelissen, Monica Theodorescu – 41
7. Aat Van Essen – 38
8. Patrik Kittel – 36
9. Mathias Alexander Rath – 35
10. Laura Bechtolsheimer – 32