Exquis World Dressage Masters 2009 Finale in Hickstead to be Hotly Contested

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Edward Gal and Moorlands Totilas. © 2008 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Edward Gal and Moorlands Totilas. © 2008 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

HICKSTEAD, England, July 17–The Exquis World Dressage Masters CDI5* 2009 finale promises several thrilling showdowns, the most eagerly awaited being the Dutch stars Moorland’s Totilas ridden by Edward Gal and Parzival with Adelinde Cornelissen battling for the biggest slice of €100,000 (US$140,000) in prize money and the last shot at a place in the European Championships.

Laura Bechtolsheimer on her Olympic mount Mistral Hojris will be riding for a hometown victory while this year’s U.S. National Grand Prix Champion Leslie Morse and Tip Top and three-time Canadian Olympian Ashley Holzer and Pop Art have flown across the Atlantic for the fourth competition in the series, each event offering €100,000 (US$140,000).

The circuit began in Palm Beach, Florida, in January then three months later was in Munich at the 1972 Olympic stadium. A month later it moved to Cannes on the French Riviera before the finale in Hickstead July 23-26.

Hickstead is also the second event of the series long €25,000 (US$35,000) Rider Award by new sponsor NÜRNBERGER Versicherungsgruppe that will conclude at a gala in Munich in 2010. Anky van Grunsven who is at the top the rider leaderboard is not competing at Hickstead, one of the highlights of the global equestrian calendar as it also is a Meydan jumping Nations Cup event.

Adelinde Cornelissen and Parzival. © 2008 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Adelinde Cornelissen and Parzival. © 2008 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Horse and rider combinations from eight nations are entered in the Exquis World Dressage Masters, with two more pairs to qualify from the CDI3* that is also being held at Hickstead.

Spectators will be riveted to the performances by Gal and Moorland’s Totilas and Cornelissen and Parzival.

This is the first time that Totilas is competing outside of The Netherlands since moving up to the big tour and their victory at the recent Dutch championships.

It also will be the first major international showing for Parzival since being injured at the FEI World Cup in Las Vegas in April and did not get to show off his spectacular piaffe and passage.

And it will be the firsty head to head meeting at this level.

Holland’s Hans Peter Minderhoud will be riding Exquis Escapado, well known in Great Britain as his former rider is Carl Hester. The fourth Dutch combination on the CDI5* is Olympian Imke Schellekens-Bartels riding her mare, Hunter Douglas Sunrise.

While British dressage has struggled in the past to lure top riders to cross the English Channel, the biggest purse in the history of British dressage has attracted a strong field.

Belgium will be represented by Stefan van Ingelgem and Whitney Van Genthof and Vicky Smits will compete with Daianira vande Helle. Marc Boblet on Whitni Star and Julia Chevanne on Calimucho represent France, while Michal Rapcewicz on his Olympic steed Randon will ride for Poland.

North America will have the biggest contingent since Palm Beach with Leslie Morse fresh from her U.S. National Grand Prix title, American Catherina Haddad, who lives in Germany, competing with Cadillac whom she showed at the WDM events in Munich and Cannes, and the Canadian rider Holzer, who lives in New York City, and her Olympic and World Cup horse Tip Top on whom she is ranked 13th in the world.

Leslie Morse and Tip Top at the U.S. National Grand Prix Championships. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Leslie Morse and Tip Top at the U.S. National Grand Prix Championships. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Great Britain will be represented by Bechtolsheimer showing Mistral Hojris. She will debut a new Freestyle to music at Hickstead.

Maria Eilberg, Fiona Bigwood and Jane Gregory will also be competing for Great Britain and all will be looking for selection as the fourth rider on the British team for the Europeans. Britain placed third in the Nations’ Cup at Aachen at the beginning of July, behind The Netherlands and Germany.

However, with Germany suffering from the suspension of the world’s top ranked rider, Isabell Werth, and the injury of Ulla Salzgeber’s Herzruf’s Erbe, Britain hopes for an even better finish at the Europeans on the home turf of Windsor next month.

The Exquis World Dressage Masters at Hickstead will offer spectacular evening entertainment including the Eventing and Show Jumping Dressage Challenge plus Taster’s from Tanya Larrigan’s “Magic of the Horse,” Dressage at Hickstead Quadrille and more.

Television and internet transmission will be provided by www.horseandcountry.tv.

The NÜRNBERGER Versicherungsgruppe Rider Award includes Cannes and Hickstead in 2009 and Palm Beach and Munich in 2010.

The winner is unlikely to be determined until WDM in Munich as double points will be at stake the.

The NÜRNBERGER WDM Rider Ranking is based on the FEI World Ranking points awarded in every WDM show multiplied by a factor 1.5, similar to the formula used in show jumping where 5* events offer more world ranking points than lower rated Grand Prix.

NÜRNBERGER WDM Rider Award
as of July 23, 2009

1. Anky van Grunsven (NED)                      750
2. Kyra Kyrklund (FIN)                                 615
3. Nathalie zu Sayn Wittgenstein (DEN)   585
4. Jordi Domingo (ESP)                               558
5. Jeroen Devroe (BEL)                                540
6. Anja Ploenzke (GER)                                495
7. Marc Boblet (FRA)                                    T450
8. Catherine Haddad (USA)                        T450
9. Stefan van Ingelgem (BEL)                    T450
10. Daniel Pinto (POR)                                T450
11. Anne van Uytert (NED)                           420
12. Constance Menard (ISR)                      T375
13. Dane Rawlins (GBR)                             T375
14. Remy Issartel (FRA)                                360