Nobody was able to beat young Anna Kasprzak and her horse Donnperignon at the season opening of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup dressage series at Odense Congress Center and the young rider thus earned the first World Cup victory of her career. Not even the German world-class rider Isabell Werth could challenge the young Dane. Already at yesterday's qualification, Anna Kasprzak and Donnperignon displayed their excellent form underlining the couple's position at the top of the world elite. This became particularly evident during today's freestyle the dressage discipline allowing the rider to compose the elements to music of his/her own choice.
The atmosphere was intense and the spectators full of anticipation as the curtain to the entrance into Arena Fyn was drawn and Anna Kasprzak rode her 14-year-old gelding in to woo the judges. The couple delivered a stunning programme to the music of Phil Collins, and the thunderous applause of the audience almost raised the roof when Anna Kasprzak had finished her ride. The judges were equally impressed and they rewarded her with an amazing 80.575%.
The couple rode as the 13th out of 15 starting equipages, right before what could be considered its key competitor, German world-class rider Isabell Werth who had come to Odense with her horse Don Johnson with whom she won gold at the European Championships. At yesterday's qualification, Kasprzak referred the German to the second place. And today, the German had to be content with the third place for her 79.4% ride.
The second place was conquered by Sweden as Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfvén and Don Auriello wedged themselves in between Denmark and Germany with a confident ride at 80.075%.
At the following press conference, it was an obviously happy Anna Kasprzak who met the press.
'I hadn't expected this result at all before heading to Odense. It has been the best weekend, and yesterday I rode my best Grand Prix to date. Today I had some errors in the flying changes, but my ride followed the music very well. Donnperignon was very energetic today, although not as much as yesterday where it was almost too much. My goal is just to better myself from here. With regards to the World Cup season, I haven't planned everything yet. Donnperignon gets to decide this', Anna Kasprzak concluded with a twinkle.
Today's runner-up, Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfvén, was also very pleased with her result.
'Don Auriello was a bit tense yesterday but did much better today. Right now I'm working to adjust the small things during training. My plan in relation to the World Cup is to ride in Stuttgart and Stockholm', said the Swede who has often visited the event in Odense.
Isabell Werth, who was forced to accept the third place, expressed satisfaction with her horse Don Johnson. 'I was really satisfied with him. He has improved so much the last 10 months and trod with a lot of power and full concentration. He was almost as good as he was in Aachen, and I actually think that he deserves a better image than the one he has right now', said the German who is planning to ride the World Cup in Stuttgart.
Susanne Baarup – the C judge in today's class only had praise for the riders' efforts in today´s class. 'It's been a pleasure and an honour to judge here today. The quality was high and small details really decided who won today', the judge concluded.
An additional three Danes started in the class – including two riders making their World Cup debut: the just 19-year-old Nanna Merrald on Milibar who rather unimpressed rode an incredible freestyle at 78.325% placing her at an admirable fourth place; Malene Folmer Jensen and her horse Acapello Foldager earning 70.675% and Princess Nathalie zu Sayn-Wittgenstein – who is a familiar face at the World Cup – making her debut on the horse Fabienne for a score of 66.4%
About the World Cup Dressage:
- The World Cup qualifier in Odense is the first of the 2013/14 season.
- The finals are held in April 2014, in Lyon, France.
- The series is divided into four leagues of which the Western European – including Denmark – is considered to be the strongest.
- The World Cup is broadcast to millions of television viewers across the world, and the series is highly estimated. Winning a World Cup qualifier holds great value to the riders.