Exquis World Dressage Masters Ready for Showdown at Cannes

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Dressage arena being constructed around USA's Catherine Haddad and Cadillac and Anky van Grunsven and IPS Salinero. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Dressage arena being constructed around USA's Catherine Haddad and Cadillac and Anky van Grunsven and IPS Salinero. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

CANNES, France, June 10–Preparations were being completed Wednesday for the third leg of the Exquis World Dressage Masters in one of the most glamorous venues in the world, the celebrity and movie star saturated city of Cannes on the French Riviera.

The postage stamp sized show grounds literally cover just one city block, including rows of peaked tents on three sides and a grandstand on the fourth side. But the masts of yachts drawn here from around the world are seen bobbing in the Mediterranean in the background.

Competitors from 11 nations are entered for the Cannes Exquis World Dressage Masters which is coupled with the Global Champions Tour CSI5* with its purse of almost €400,000 (US$560,000), the Grand Prix of both dressage and jumping to be held under lights Saturday night.

Anky van Grunsven, here to compete IPS Salinero for only the second time in an international show since the 2008 Olympics where the Dutch rider won her third individual gold medal, commented the weather was like the inaugural event at Palm Beach in the world’s richest dressage circuit. She won the Grand Prix Freestyle on IPS Painted Black and the lion’s share of the €100,000 (US$140,000) that’s at stake in each of the four Masters events in 2009. Munich, Germany followed Palm Beach and Hickstead, England will be the finale next month.

Belgium’s Stephan van Ingelgem on Whitney van ‘t Genthof also commented on the similarity in the weather from his experience at Palm Beach in January.

The Grand Prix with a purse of €10,000 (US$14,000) is scheduled for Thursday, the €30,000 (US$42,000) Grand Prix Special to Music on Friday and the Grand Prix Freestyle with a purse of €60,000 (US$84,000) on Saturday night.

In addition to van Grunsven and van Ingelgem, others entered include: Anne van Uytert and IPS Lucky Times of The Netherlands, Denmark’s Nathalie Zu Sayn-Wittgenstein and Digby, Jeroen Devroe and Apollo van het Vijverhof of Belgium, Finland’s Kyra Kyrklund and Max, Jordi Domingo and Prestige of Spain, Daniel Pinto and Galopin de la Font of Portugal, Marc Boblet and Whitney Star and Rémy Issartel and Hilton du Clotobie of France, Catherine Haddad and Cadillac of the USA, Dane Rawlins and Sydney of Great Britain, Anja Plönzke and Le Mont d’Or of Germany and Constance Menard and LLainca of Israel.