Tinne Vilhelmsson-Silfvén & Don Auriello Secure Top Five World Cup Ranking With Wellington Victory

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Tinne Vilhelmsson-Silfvén and Don Auriello in the Wellington World Cup Freestyle. © 2012 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

WELLINGTON, Florida, Feb. 18–Tinne Vilhelmsson-Silfvén secured a World Cup top five ranking when she rode Don Auriello to victory in the Grand Prix Freestyle under newly installed lights at the Global Dressage Festival Saturday night.

The win by Tinne and Don Auriello (Don Davidoff x Wey o mey x White Star) after a break from competition for three months scored 76.350 per cent from a ride that gave her a “great feeling” but was more tense from the atmosphere and only the horse’s second performance under lights. A mistake in the canter extension near the end of the ride was expensive as she could not make it up.

Even so, the Swedish pair earned enough points to move them to the top five in the World Cup Western European League with only two competitions to go there–Neumünster, Germany, this weekend and  Gothenborg, Sweden, next weekend leading to the Final at ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands, in April.

The USA’s Jim Koford rode Pharaoh to second place with 73.450 per cent and came two weeks after the pair won the World Cup freestyle at this same venue in its inaugural event just two weeks earlier and moved him into second place in the North American League (NAL) behind Adrienne Lyle and Wizard who did not compete Saturday night.

For Jim, the prize money he has won in the two World Cup events in Wellington–each of the freestyles carried $20,000 (€15,200) in prize money–will help toward his costs of competing in the Final if he is invited, though possibly not enough for a new pair of boots that he needs to replace the ones he wore Saturday night that have holes in them. Two slots in the Final are reserved for NAL horses and riders, but they receive $12,000 (€9,100) from European organizers for transportation expenses that covers only about half the costs.

James Koford and Pharaoh. © 2012 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Jim and Pharaoh have really come into their own and win or place their charisma captivated the crowd that was in shirt sleeves in balmy South Florida. The ‘Mask of Zorro’ music carried the crowd to the finale and spectators leapt to their feet at the final salute for the loudest applause of the night for Jim and the 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Ferro x Heureka VH Rampelhof x Carneval). This was only the fifth show since their first CDI in June last year.

Shawna Harding of Aiken, South Carolina, and her 2011 World Cup Final mount, Come On III were third on 71.175 per cent.

Linda Zang of the U.S., president of the ground jury, described the new show grounds as equal to the best in Europe with super footing, management and atmosphere that made it truly international that would lead to more Europeans coming to compete in the future.

“The good thing is that people like Tinne and others competing here will help our riders get better,” she said, “as we strive to be better and go for higher quality.”

The Swedish pair won the Grand Prix Friday, but the other top two Grand Prix placings by Canada’s Ashley Holzer on Breaking Dawn and Todd Flettrich on Otto, opted for the Olympic Grand Prix Special scheduled for Sunday.

U.S. Olympic team qualifying criteria have devastated World Cup freestyle events in North America this year as only Grand Prix and Olympic Grand Prix Special scores count toward the selection trials.

Saturday night’s freesyle with 11 combinations was by far the largest World Cup event of the year in North America. Two previous Florida World Cup events had only two and three entries, respectively, while of two World Cup events in California over the next month, one has only one entry and the other three.

Complete Grand Prix Freestyle results:

E: Alonso H: Gurney C: Zang M: Mandl B: Collinder
Rider Horse
E H C M B Total % Pl.

Vilhelmson-Silfven, Tinne Don Auriello
301 303.5 318 297 307.5 1527 76.350% 1
Koford, James Pharaoh
288.5 301.5 303 291.5 284.5 1469 73.450% 2

Harding, Shawna Come On III
273.5 284.5 292 283.5 290 1423.5 71.175% 3

Baumert, Jennifer Don Principe
271.5 282 287 296.5 274 1411 70.550% 4

Losos de Muniz, Yvonne Liebling II
275.5 282 285 279.5 274 1396 69.800% 5

Creech, Diane Devon L
267 262 273 266.5 262 1330.5 66.525% 6

Gundersen, Mikala My Lady
260.5 261.5 253 264 257.5 1296.5 64.825% 7

Dutta, Susan Golden Choice DC
246 261 269 265 249 1290 64.500% 8

Marcus, David Chrevi’s Capital
253 259.5 265 252.5 248 1278 63.900% 9

Peters, Joni Lynn Travolta
252 255.5 252 272 246 1277.5 63.875% 10

Jensen, Stephanie Addiction
243.5 261.5 251 257 251.5 1264.5 63.225% 0