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Anky van Grunsven and Salinero win second straight Exquis World Dressage Masters musical freestyle at Palm Beach

February 8, 2010
Top three riders take their victory gallop
A crowd estimated at 4,300 spectators ignored a chilly South Florida night to thunderously applaud the three top riders in their first freestyle head to head competition since Steffen and Ravel won the World Cup Final in Las Vegas in 2009

Anky van Grunsven and Salinero were in top form Saturday night to win their second straight Exquis World Dressage Masters musical freestyle at Palm Beach, beating U.S. favorite Steffen Peters and Ravel and Isabell Werth and Satchmo of Germany.

A crowd estimated at 4,300 spectators ignored a chilly South Florida night to thunderously applaud the three top riders in their first freestyle head to head competition since Steffen and Ravel won the World Cup Final in Las Vegas in 2009. Since then, Isabell took time off to have a baby just three months ago, while Anky says the past year with Salinero has been "bit up and down," just like life.

Anky and Salinero, who won individual gold at the 2008 Olympic Games, scored 84.450 per cent, with Steffen and Ravel on 81.700 per cent and Isabell and Satchmo with 78.950 per cent. Ashley Holzer and Pop Art of Canada were fourth on 76.300 per cent.

The musical freestyle with prize money of €60,000 (US$82,000) was the culmination of the opening event of the second year of the world's richest lineup of dressage competitions. The Palm Beach event, as with other Exquis World Dressage Masters competitions, carries total prize money of €100,000 (US$136,000).

Anky said that practicing Friday in the International Arena under lights "really helped me because today he was really settled down" in her Dance of Devotion freestyle.

"Tonight everything just worked out how it should be," she said. "I was really, really pleased with him. I am very proud."

She said the 16-year-old gelding has already been at the highest level for six years.

"We've had worse competitions and better competitions, but if you have a horse, you know that's life. I'm so proud that he's still fit, wants to do his job, and wants to compete. He's still a happy horse. He likes to compete and do training. It's nice to feel that it's still there. He does get older and settles down a bit, that's nice. It's fantastic to still have a horse like this."

Steffen said that Ravel, on whom he won the World Cup and the three CDIO classes at the World Equestrian Festival CHIO in Aachen, Germany in 2009, "was feeling pretty solid in the changes, so I did it with one hand.

"I didn't have quite the guts to do it in the one tempis. I should have, now looking back, but I was happy.

"I had a lot of horse underneath me, a little bit more than in the Grand Prix. I was careful into the piaffe because I thought he would overreact, but he didn't. That's why I think the first piaffe wasn't that good. The rest of the test was great; I was very, very happy with it.

"I thought Anky's was one of the best freestyles I've seen with Salinero. To be second behind them is fantastic.”

Earlier in the day, Leslie Morse of Beverly Hills, California, and Tip Top 962 of the United States won the Moorland €30,000 (US$41,000) Grand Prix Special with a score of 65.708 per cent, with Belinda Trussell and Anton of Canada second on 65.167 per cent and Elisabeth Austin and Olivier of the United States in third place on 64.875 per cent.

Michael Stone, president of Equestrian Sport Productions that was organizer of the event, said: "I think the competition was fantastic. We're so pleased to have three of the top riders in the world here in Wellington."

"We had three of the top riders in the world. That doesn't happen every day," added Anthony Kies, Chief Executive Officer of World Dressage Masters. "I was so pleased when I arrived this year to see the improvements made to the stadium. We are very happy to have the Exquis World Dressage Masters here in Wellington, and we look forward to having the event here in the future."

Final Results: Exquis World Dressage Masters CDI 5* - Grand Prix Freestyle
Judge E - Steiner Judge H- Mandl Judge C- Markowski Judge M- Rockwell Judge B- Leymann
Place Entry # Horse Rider % Rk % Rk % Rk % Rk % Rk Score %
1. 23 Salinero Anky van Grunsven 82.750 83.500 87.750 83.000 85.250 1689 84.450
2. 37 Ravel Steffen Peters 83.500 80.250 84.750 80.750 79.250 1634 81.700
3. 45 Satchmo 78 Isabell Werth 77.500 80.250 81.250 79.750 76.000 1579 78.950
4. 46 Pop Art Ashley Holzer 74.500 77.000 78.000 76.750 75.250 1526 76.300
5. 33 Leonberg Mikala Munter Gundersen 74.000 74.250 69.250 72.000 71.500 1444 72.200
6. 34 Ovation Christa Laarakkers 71.750 72.000 70.250 68.750 73.000 1423 71.150
7. 42 Calecto V Tina Konyot 72.000 67.500 70.750 72.500 70.750 1414 70.700
8. 31 Le Mont d'Or Anja Ploenzke 69.000 70.750 68.500 69.000 72.500 1399 69.950

Final Results: Exquis World Dressage Masters CDI 5* - Grand Prix Special
Judge E- Rockwell Judge H- Leymann Judge C- Steiner Judge M- Mandl Judge B- Markowski
Place Entry # Horse Rider % Rk % Rk % Rk % Rk % Rk Score %
1. 43 Tip Top 962 Leslie Morse 66.042 65.208 65.625 65.208 66.458 1577 65.708
2. 35 Anton Belinda Trussell 65.417 65.625 63.542 65.417 65.833 1564 65.167
3. 40 Oliver Elisabeth Austin 65.208 65.000 66.042 63.125 65.000 1557 64.875
4. 38 Lucky Tiger Pierre Saint Jacques 63.958 65.000 64.583 63.958 64.583 1546 64.417
5. 24 Olympus Michael Barisone 65.417 62.083 64.167 63.542 64.792 1536 64.000
6. 36 Premier Aat van Essen 63.958 62.500 63.125 62.917 61.042 1505 62.708
7. 39 Devon L Diane Creech 58.542 56.667 56.875 56.875 53.750 1357 56.542
8. 47 Wakana Ulla Salzgeber 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0.000