DEL MAR, California, April 27– The American Olympic celebrity couple of Rafalca and Jan Ebeling on Saturday night posted the highest ever score of 76.125 per cent in capturing the Grand Prix Freestyle at the Del Mar National CDI3* which also featured the formal retirement of their team mate, Ravel.
The 16-year-old Oldenburg mare (Argentinius x Ratine x Rubinstein) is, in the estimation of Jan of Moorpark, California, “going better than ever” since returning to the show arena this year after a break from competition of six months following the Games in London.
Günter of Cardiff, California and Coral Reef Wylea, competing in their fourth CDI since the U.S. Olympian began riding the 13-year-old Westfalen mare last November, were second on 73.950 per cent in the Freestyle, that had only three starting combinations. Canada’s Karen Pavicic on Don Daiquiri was third on 71.025 per cent.
The Grand Prix on Friday was won by Günter and Wylea with 72.511 per cent, just 0.022 per cent ahead of Jan and Rafalca on 72.489 per cent and Karen and Don Daiquiri third on 67.362 per cent.
The scores for the two California combinations in the Grand Prix were also personal bests.
Rafalca became the focus of international media in the lead up to and at the London Olympics last summer because of the mare’s ownership, Beth Meyer, Amy Ebeling and Ann Romney, wife of the 2012 United States Presidential candidate, Mitt Romney.
The previous highest score for Jan and Rafalca was 74.800 per cent, also in Del Mar in March, 2012.
Wylea (Weinberg x St. Jolie x Saluut) was bought by Coral Reef Ranch at Rancho Santa Fe, California last November from former U.S. team coach Klaus Balkenhol of Germany and lightly competed by his daughter, Anabel.
Both Günter and Jan have been awarded grants to train in Europe in preparation for the World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France in 2014. Günter plans to train with Klaus Balkenhol.
Jan, who has trained with Wolfram Wittig in Germany, will also spend time with Rassolini, the 2010 champion of the Nürnberger Burgpokal, that was bought a week ago by a group of 10 owners led by Ann Romney, Beth Meyer and Amy Ebeling as a future championship team prospect.