Patrik Kittel & Scandic Lead Swedish Sweep of Florida World Cup Grand Prix
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
WEST PALM BEACH, Florida, Jan. 18–The Swedish Olympic team combination of Patrik Kittel and Watermill Scandic H.B.C. claimed victory Friday in the Gold Coast Dressage Opener World Cup Grand Prix, while six-time Swedish Olympian Tinne Vilhelmsson-Silfvén and her developing Divertimento placed second.
Adrienne Lyle and Wizard were the top finishing American combination, placing third, in their first competition since the pair rode for the United States at the Olympic Games in London last year. Canada’s David Marcus and Chrevi’s Capital, another Olympic partnership alumnus were fourth, with only these top combinations being scored above 70 per cent in what appeared to be low marks from the five-judge panel for the entire class of 14 entries.
Patrik and Scandic were awarded a score of 72.723 per cent, Tinne and Divertimento 71.170 per cent, Adrienne of Hailey, Idaho, and Wizard 70.830 per cent and David and Chrevi’s Capital 70.064 per cent.
The Gold Coast Opener is the traditional start of the CDI calendar in Florida that has become perhaps the most intense dressage competition schedule in the world with 11 CDIs, including five World Cup events, two CDI5*s and a Nations Cup within three months. Five nations were represented in the Grand Prix–Canada, Denmark, Italy, Sweden and the United States.
The victory for Patrik and the 14-year-old KWPN stallion (Solos Carex x Noraline x Amiral) Scandic came in their third World Cup event–the others being Stockholm and Lyon, France–since the London Games which was the second Olympics for the rider. The pair were also on the Swedish team at the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky in 2010.
Scandic, typically a “hot” horse, appeared none the worse for the transatlantic flight and a few days in quarantine doing nothing before moving to stables at the Jim Brandon Center show grounds where they will compete next week in the World Dressage Masters being held in Palm Beach for the fifth year.
“He got better as the ride went on,” Patrik said after the Grand Prix that was held in a covered arena.
The weather, he said, was about perfect–a clear sunny day that began with a low of about 50 degrees F (10C) before sunrise and that is chilly for South Florida, but warmed up to near 70F (21C) at midday. In the area of Germany where he is based with his Australian wife, Lyndal Oatley, the low temperature for the day was 17F (-8C) and the high a freezing 32F (0C).
Tinne rode Divertimento, an 11-year-old Westfalen gelding (Di Versace x Fatima x Ferragamo), one of three Grand Prix mounts she brought to Florida for the third straight year as the rider for Antonia Ax:son Johnson.
The competition was the first CDI for Divertimento since last June as she focused on Don Auriello that was her mount for the World Cup Final and the Olympics in 2012.