Tinne & Don Auriello Win Rotterdam in 2nd Performance of New Freestyle, Standing Ovation for Anky & Salinero

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Tinne Vilhelmsson-Silfvén and Don Auriello. © 2012 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

ROTTERDAM, June 23–Tinne Vilhelmsson-Silfvén rode the still developing Don Auriello to victory in only their second performance of a new Grand Prix Freestyle at the Rotterdam CDIO5* Saturday night, while Anky van Grunsven and her 18-year-old Olympic gold medal partner, Salinero were runnerup by only a tiny fraction and brought the packed stadium to its feet.

Tinne, already named to Sweden’s team for the Olympics opening in London in a month, and the 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Don Davidoff x Wey o mey x White Star) scored 78.450 per cent. Anky and Salinero scored 78.400 per cent. while fellow Dutch team mate Imke Schellekens-Bartels and Hunter Douglas Toots were third on 77.750 per cent.

The victory before a packed stadium was the third for Sweden this week. Tinne and Don Auriello won the Grand Prix and Patrik Kittel and Watermill Scandic H.B.C., also named to the Swedish team, won the Grand Prix Special.

Tinne, who launched her Grand Prix career with Don Auriello in Florida just 16 months ago, debuted the new Cees Slings freestyle at the World Cup Final in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands, in April.

“It was overwhelming to win again,” she said. “My horse is only 10 years old and I feel every time he is getting better.”

The stars of the show at the scene of so many of their triumphs were Anky and Salinero.

The crowd signaled their agreement with the “Queen of the Freestyle” that she and her partner at Grand Prix for the past nine years had been underscored.

“I’m happy with my ride and Salinero,” she said. “We have put together a very good performance, but again did not get the points that I think we earned. The crowd was really cool because if after for your feel you did a super test and you leave the stadium accompanied by a standing ovation it feels mega cool!”

In nine years of international competition, Anky and the 18-year-old KWPN gelding (Salieri x Luna x Lungali) won individual gold medals at the 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing Games, won the World Cup Finals in 2005 and 2006 and gold and silver at the 2006 World Equestran Games.

The results this weekend at Holland’s premier competition followed the Dutch championships and were to have led to the selection of the Dutch team of three and an individual for the Olympics that begin in London July 27.

However, world No. 1 Adelinde Cornelissen and Jerich Parzival skipped both events saying that the 15-year-old KWPN gelding was not ready. She was allowed to compete at a national show at the end of the month. Adelinde said when the pair won their second straight World Cup Final in April that Parzival was not at his peak but was being prepared to be so for the Olympics.

Results: Grand Prix Musical Freestyle