MICHAL RAPCEWICZ ON RANDON WINS FIRST WORLD DRESSAGE MASTERS 5* EVENT FOR POLAND

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Michal Rapcewicz on Randon celebrates his 29th birthday with first victory in World Dressage Masters 5* at Palm Beach. © 2011 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

WEST PALM BEACH, Florida, Mar. 11–Michal Rapcewicz on Randon, the horse on which he became the first Pole to compete in Olympic dressage, on Friday won his first World Dressage Masters 5* event with a personal best score for the Grand Prix Special, a day after his 29th birthday.

Michal, based in Belgium, described his first competition in Florida as “a small paradise for horses” and victory in the €30,000 (US$41,700) Special “like a big dream.”

Michal and the 14-year-old Polish Warmblood that he competed at the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky last year, three World Cup Finals and two European Championships as well as the 2008 Olympics, scored 69.771 per cent. Pierre St. Jacques of Anthony, Florida, on his Pan American Games team gold medal mount, Lucky Tiger, was second on 69.417 per cent and Shawna Harding of Aiken, South Carolina, and Come On III were third on 68.958 per cent. Elisabeth Austin of Williston, BVermont, on her homebred Olivier were fourth with 66.854 per cent.

Michal Rapcewicz on Randon. © 2011 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

The ride appeared to be the best ever for the pair that have competed in several of the four annual €100,000 WDM events in Europe over the past two years.

He also is ranked second in the €25,000 Nürnberger Rider Ranking behind Germany’s Anja Plönzke, who is also competing here in the only CDI5* in the Western Hemisphere. The event in Munich, Germany, in June will determine the final ranking.

Pierre St. Jacques, whose wife is expecting their first child later this year, said he was “ecstatic” with the win but he was not planning his competition schedule beyond the birth.

Pierre St. Jacques and Lucky Tiger. © 2011 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Shawna Harding was riding in her first Masters, an experience she described as “wonderful.”

She is at the top of the North American League standings for the World Cup Final in Leipzig, Germany, at the end of April, and was recently awarded a grant that would cover some of the costs of competing in Europe.

She plans to compete Come On III in Europe even if she does not qualify for the World Cup, and would take her small tour horse, Rigo, that she is campaigning for a place on the U.S. team for the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, in October.

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