At Exquis World Dressage Masters Cannes Anja Plönzke and Le Mont d’Or Win Their First Grand Prix Special
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
CANNES, France, June 12–Anja Plönzke gave up a chance to ride in the German championships and opted instead to ride her Le Mont d’Or in the €100,000 (US$140,000) Exquis World Dressage Masters capturing their first victory in the Grand Prix Special at Cannes Saturday night.
The victory “is incredible,” said Anja of the Special on which they were scored at 68.00 per cent and claimed the first place prize of €10,000 (US$14,000) from the total purse for the night of €30,000 (US$42,000). The Netherlands’ Anne van Uytert on IPS Lucky Times was second with 66.168 per cent and Stefan van Ingelgem and Withney van ‘t Genthof of Belgium third with 65.916 per cent. The USA’s Catherine Haddad and Cadillac 35 were fourth on 65.250 per cent.
The Grand Prix Special to Music is an innovation introduced at the Exquis World Dressage Masters series of four events in the U.S. and Europe. The Grand Prix Special at Cannes started at 10:30 p.m. (2130 GMT/4:40 p.m. US ET) in this French Riviera resort city. It was broadcast live on www.jumpingcannes.com, as will the €60,000 (US$84,000) Grand Prix Freestyle that is scheduled to begin at 11: p.m. local time Saturday.
Plönzke, 40, who lives in Wiesbaden, has and Le Mont d’Or, a 10-year-old bay gelding, for three years. They have performed only seven Grand Prix and three Grand Prix Specials. Their previous best result was third place at the Exquis World Dressage Masters in Munich, Germany, last month.
After Munich, she said, the German national coach, Holger Schmelzer, asked if she would compete at the WDM in Cannes instead of the German national championships that are being held this weekend in Balve.
“We had competed in several shows already. At first I thought, ‘You are crazy.’ But I said, ‘OK, I’ll do Cannes.'”
“After the Grand Prix I thought we should do the kür, which I like, but decided instead to do the Special.
“Now, I can’t believe it. To win here in Cannes is incredible.”
Her success she credits to training with her husband, Roland Bauer, whose background is in jumpers as well as breeding.
She discovered during the small tour that the judges and the spectators like Le Mont d’Or, whom she decsribed as “positive and forward going” who is reliable and always willing to work.
There was some confusion over the riders performing to their own music, an aspect of the Grand Prix Special that was introduced for the first time at Munich to huge success. Unlike the Freestyle where the ride is choreographed to perform movements in virtually any order as long as requirements are fulfilled, the Special is the same test for all the cominations but they get to select their music.
Because not all riders provided a sound track, the judging panel determined that to insure an even playing field riders would not be able to use their own music but the music would be played by the announcer.
The result produced mixed results. The USA’s Catherine Haddad and Cadillac, for example, did not ride to their crowd-pleasing Celine Dion selection but music that was more for background listening.
On just the very next ride, Anja Plönzke’s own music boomed from the stadium sound system that noticeably raised the energy level and got the crowd clapping along with the movements.
|CDI***** Grand Prix Sp�cial
Presented by: Massa Autopneus
International Dressage Competition
Grand Prix Sp�cial (FEI-edition 2009)
Friday, 12th June 2009 Class: D2