Isabell Werth & Warum Nicht Win Exquis World Dressage Masters Cannes Grand Prix Freestyle

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Isabell Werth and Warum Nicht. © 2010 RB Presse
Isabell Werth and Warum Nicht. © 2010 RB Presse

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 Michal 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.

Similar to the Grand Prix when Warum Nicht was distracted by flowers around the arena blowing in the wind, but a cable that he wanted to check out.

“That’s why his changes of leg seemed a little out of order at times,” Isabell said. “But I am absolutely satisfied of this first appearance in Cannes despite some little imperfections. Either way I adore Cannes. I enjoyed it so much that I think I might almost count these days as my holiday!“

The finishes here automatically puts here at the top of the €25,000 (US$30,300) WDM Rider Award leaderboard sponsored by Nürnburger Versicherungsgruppe that goes to the combination with the most points won at Cannes, Falsterbo, Sweden, and Hickstead, England in 2010 and Palm Beach, USA, and Munich, Germany in 2011.

Isabell won the €10,000 (U$12,100) Grand Prix Thursday setting the stage for victory in the freestyle after finishing third in the two previous Exquis World Dressage Masters events so far this year, at Palm Beach in February and Munich in May. Until Cannes, she had not won on the horse she calls “Hannes” and owned by Madeleine Winter-Schulze since Wiesbaden, Germany, in May, 2009.

In the €30,000 (US$36,350) Grand Prix Special, Italy’s Valentina Truppa on Eremo del Castegno posted their the first victory outside her homeland of Italy since capturing the European Young Rider Grand Prix Freestyle in Germany in 2007. The 24-year-old and Eremo del Castegno scored 71.042 per cent with Germans Matthias Alexander Rath on Triviant UNICEF second on 69.667 per cent and Anja Plönzke on Le Mont d’Or third on 68.792 per cent. Anja and Le Mont d’Or were second in the Grand Prix with Matthias third.

Other scores in the Grand Prix Freestyle presented by Exquis and Groupe Massa were Daniel Pinto of Portugal and Galopin de la Font 66.90 per cent, Jeroen Devroe of Belgium and Apollo van het Vijverhof 64.20 per cent, Rogerio Clementino da Silva of Brazil and Portugal 64.15 per cent and Luiza Novaes Tavares de Almeida  and Samba with 64.00 per cent. Luiza on Samba was the youngest ever dressage rider to compete at an Olympics, aged 16 at the 2008 Beijing Games.

Cannes 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 is followed by the 2010 finale at Hickstead, England.

Highlights of the event will be broadcast by Sport1 on Saturday, June 19 at 11:45 AM.