U.S. Set to Challenge Defending Champs at the 2009 Rolex FEI World Cup Final
RELEASE: April 16, 2009
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: Joanie Morris
Steffen Peters and Ravel (Shannon Brinkman)
Las Vegas, NV – With the anticipation building in the Thomas & Mack Arena for the 2009 Rolex FEI World Cup Final, both the Dressage and Jumping competitors got their final tune up in the main arena on Wednesday.
14 Dressage horses from eight nations and 45 Jumping competitors from 22 will take center stage today, the first day of competition.
Two masters are back to defend their titles. Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and Shutterfly are looking for their third World Cup title. After a stylish win last year, the German rider is looking to jump to victory again. On the dressage stage, Anky van Grunsven will try to add to her double gold Olympic laurels and defend her World Cup title in the dressage ring. Van Grunsven, from the Netherlands is without her Olympic horse, Salierno and will ride Paint it Black in Las Vegas.
These Champs will have plenty of challengers, some of the most formidable being from the US. The USEF sends out 12 riders to take the Jumping title, leading the charge is McLain Ward and his two-time Olympic gold medal-winning mare Sapphire. Ward has made it clear since January that winning the Final is a definite goal. Sapphire, who is a 14-year-old Belgian Warmblood, owned by Blue Chip Bloodstock has won three major competitions this spring on the way to the Final.
Last year’s runner up to Michaels-Beerbaum, Rich Fellers, had the distinct honor of drawing the first spot in 2009, he and the Chapmans’ Irish Sport Horse stallion Flexible will lead it off tonight at 7.00pm. They looked happy and fresh in the warm-up class on Wednesday and are looking to go one better in 2009.
Steffen Peters will lead the Dressage effort, having placed fourth with Aikiko Yamazaki’s Ravel at the 2008 Olympic Games, just a whisper from an Individual medal. The 11-year old Dutch gelding is stronger and more mature than last year, he started off 2009 with a win at the CDI5***** Wellington, winning the Exquiss World Dressage Masters Grand Prix. He will ride 13th of the 14 riders.
Slated to start 15, Dutch rider, Adelinde Cornelissen, sadly had to withdraw Parzival on Wednesday with a minor tendon injury.
The US will lead it off the dressage too, with Leslie Morse and Jan Ebeling drawing one-two respectively.
Morse and Kingston looked as good as ever during their practice yesterday in the Thomas & Mack Arena. The 17-year-old stallion has plenty of experience and he relished in the atmosphere. Leslie has drawn number one and will be the first to go this afternoon.
Jan Ebeling and Rafalca are competing in their first World Cup Final, they did the test ride in 2007. Rafalca looked totally at ease in the atmosphere.
The Dressage Grand Prix gets underway at 12.00 noon PST and the Speed Class of the Jumping Final kicks off at 7.00 pm PST.
The complete draw and more information is available at www.worldcuplasvegas.com.
Media guides are available at http://www.usef.org/contentPage2.aspx?id=mediaguides
You can read and watch what’s happening on the inside at www.clubequestrian.com. Videos, photos and stories will be posted daily.
For more information, please contact Joanie Morris at email@example.com.