First Time in Career, Tinne Vilhelmsson-Silfvén Claims 1st & 2nd Places in Florida World Cup Grand Prix
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
LOXAHATCHEE, Florida, Mar. 2–For the first time in her career, Sweden’s Tinne Vilhelmsson-Silfvén took both the first and second placings Friday in the Grand Prix at the Palm Beach Dressge Derby World Cup event that had 35 starting combinations, equal to a record in North America.
As remarkable was that Tinne rode Favourit, the 13-year-old Rheinelander gelding (Fidermark x Wapita x Worldchamp) to a score of 72.043 per cent for the Mary Anne and Walter McPhail trophy just two weeks after the horse suffered a colic that led to withdrawing from the Global Dressage Dressage Festival World Cup event in Wellington.
The rider, who has already qualified with Don Auriello for the World Cup Final in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands, next month as the fifth ranked rider in the Western European League, filled second place on Divertimento with a score of 71.149 per cent.
At the same event in 2011 she won both the Grand Prix qualifiers, for the Special on Don Auriello and for the Fresetyle on Favourit.
But never filling both first and second placings in a CDI Grand Prix.
The depth of the competition was measured by the results that put U.S. 2010 World Equestrian Games combination of Tina Konyot of Palm City, Florida, and Calecto V in third on 69.298 per cent and fellow WEG team mates Todd Flettrich of Wellngton, Florida, and Otto fourth on 69.170 per cent. The up and coming American pair of Heather Blitz of Wellington and Paragon took fifth place on 69.085 per cent.
The record for the Swedish Olympian in 12 classes in Florida this year before this weekend, is six first places, one second place and three third places.
The Palm Beach Dressage Derby began 30 years ago and is a centerpiece of the world’s most intensive calendar of CDIs–11 in three months at three show grounds barely a half-hour from each other. It is nearing its climax with a $120,000 CDI5* and the first ever non-championship CDIO Nations Cup in the Western Hemisphere at new multmillion dollars show grounds in Wellington in the next few weeks.
But Friday’s World Cup Grand Prix belonged to Tinne and her horses owned by Antonia Ax:son Johnson at the shows managed hy fellow Scandinavian Lars Petersen, the Danish Olympian, and his business partner, Ed Borreson.
Lars rode Wilano to victory in the CDI Prix St. Georges with a score of 72.982 per cent between multi tasking as a show organizer and coach of several other competitors in the competition. Colombia’s Marco Bernal, who is based in Wellington, and Farewell IV were second on 72.018 per cent and Caroline Roffman also of Wellington were third on Pie at 70.877 per cent.
New footing of a mix of sand, fiber and textile and additional numerous trees that provided shade in unseasonably hot weather were welcomed by competitors and spectators.
“I’m reallt\y excited with how Favourit performed,” Tinne said, “especially because the competition was so good with the two American WEG combinations and Heather and Paragon who have been doing so well. We were probably one tick off our best because of the hot weather but we are really happy.”
The temperature in Loxahatchee was about 85F (29C), while in Sweden the temperature dropped to about 23F (-5C).
She said that coming to Florida for the winter enabled her to develop her horses. Don Auriello started Grand Prix in Florida in 2011 and Divertimento this year.
“With this weather,” she said, “I can train all of the horses and rotate them in competition so they are always fresh.”
Never before, she said, had she had three Grand Prix horses at the same time that she could compete when they felt right.
“This allows me to get into a flow of competitions, to get a rhythm, that is so important,” she said, “to be competition sharp.”
Tinne has qualified in the Western European Leagie with Don Auriello for the World Cup Final.
She will compete Favourit in the North American League events–this is hist first this year and two are required–so she has a backup horse if necessary and permitted under the rules.
The Olympic Grand Prix Special in which Divertimento will compete is scheduled for Saturday and the Freestyle for Sunday.
Complete results: Palm Beach Dressage Derby CDI-W Results