Munich, Germany - In the first competition since their victory at the 2010 World Cup, the record-setting combination of Moorlands Totilas and Edward Gal lead a star-studded field in the €100,000 (US$127,500) Exquis World Dressage Masters and the finale of the €25,000 (US$31,900) Nürnberger Rider Challenge at Munich beginning Thursday.
The leading Dutch pair and World Cup reserve champions Jerich Parzival and Adelinde Cornelissen, will be challenged by the top German, Isabell Werth, riding Warum Nicht FRH to defend the WDM title she won at the inaugural Munich event in 2009.
Pferd International is the second event this year of the globe's four richest dressage competitions with total prize money of €425,000 (US$542,000). As in 2009, the lineup of five-star events is Palm Beach held three months ago, Munich May 13-16, and then Cannes, France, June 13-16 and Hickstead, England, July 28-Aug. 1.
Highlights of the Munich competition event are the €10,000 (US$12,750) Nürnberger Versicherungsgruppe Grand Prix presented by Frb E.V. at 14.30 local time Friday, the €30,000 (US$38,250) Moorlands Grand Prix Special presented by Fürst Fugger Privatbank at 13.00 Saturday and the €60,000 (US$76,500) Exquis Grand Prix Kür To Music presented by Nürnberger Versicherungsgruppe at 12.00 on Sunday. The results will determine the winner of the inaugural €25,000 Nurger WDM Rider Rankings and a free gene banking package provided by the U.S. cloning company, ViaGen.
Clipmyhorse.de will provide live coverage over the Internet of all competitions while Sport 1 will broadcast a highlight program 11:45-12:45 on Saturday, May 22.
Edward Gal and Moorlands Totilas are heavily favored to win the Nurger Rider Rankings, but with double points available, Adelinde and Parzival, the only combination to have beaten them--twice--are within striking distance. Rankings leader Anky van Grunsvenis unable to seek the title because of an injury to her Olympic mount, Salinero.
In addition to the world's No. 1 and No. 2 combinations from The Netherlands, Isabell Werth will compete on 2007 World Cup champion, Warum Nicht, to lead a strong German contingent of Hubertus Schmidt, Matthias Alexander Rath, Ulla Slazgeber, Anja Plönzke, Susanne Lebek and Christoph Koschel.
Anne van Olst will represent Denmark while Austria is represented by Victoria Max-Theurer and Peter Gmoser, Belgium by Stefan van Ingelgem, Ireland by Anna Merveldt, Italy by Valentina Truppa and Marcela Krinke Susmelj of Switzerland. Additional entries can qualify through the CDI3* that is also being held in Munich and includes riders from throughout Europe and North America.
A special feature of the Munich show is a dressage horse breeding symposium, called "Servant or King," and organized by Jacob Schmid for WDM to bring together some of the world's top specialists to discuss the marriage of sport and breeding. The symposium, aimed at promoting knowledge exchange, is sponsored by ViaGen of the United States, a leader in commercial animal gene banking and cloning services. Admission is free once inside the show grounds at the Olympic Stadium.
Symposium participants include: Holger Schmezer, coach of the German Dressage team; Dr. Dietrich Plewa, international dressage judge and trainer; Jan Tönjes, journalist for sport and breeding; Hans Riegler, Chief of the Spanish Riding School of Vienna; Gotthilf Riexinger, Olympic dressage judge; Kees Visser owner of Moorland Stables and Moorlands Totilas, and dressage analyst and; Wim Ernes of the KWPN stallion selection committee and "O" judge.
Anthony M. Kies, Chief Executive Officer of Exquis World Dressage Masters, said that Pferd International in Munich will be the highlight of the 2010 WDM season.
"The final of the Nurger WDM Rider Ranking has made the world's best riders come to Munich," he said. "They will battle over a total purse of €125.000, which is unprecedented in dressage.
"Last year we welcomed two new partners: Nurger Versicherungsgruppe and Jerich International. I want to thank them both for their trust in WDM. Together with our partner Moorland Investments we have been able to move WDM into the international spotlight."
WDM Rider Rankings (Prior to Final at Munich)
Rank Rider Nation No. Events Points
1. Anky van Grunsven NED 2 1530
2. Ashley Holzer CAN 2 1380
3. Edward Gal NED 1 1020
4. Leslie Morse USA 2 990
5. Marc Boblet FRA 2 945
6. Anja Plönzke GER 2 932
7. Adelinde Cornelissen NED 1 870
8. Catherine Haddad USA 2 855
9. Daniel Pinto POR 2 855
10. Laura Bechtolsheimer GBR 1 855
11. Imke Schellekens-Bartels NED 1 780
12. Steffen Peters USA 1 765
13. Isabell Werth GER 1 660
14. Hans Peter Minderhoud NED 1 615
15. Kyra Kyrklund FIN 1 615
16. Nathalie zu Sayn Wittgenstein DEN 1 585
17. Fiona Bigwood GBR 1 570
18. Jordi Domingo ESP 1 558
19. Jeroen Devroe BEL 1 540
20. Anders Dahl DEN 1 510
21. Maria Eilberg GBR 1 495
22. Christa Laarakkers NED 1 495
23. Michal Rapcewicz POL 1 470
24. Mikala Murster Gundersen NED 1 465
25. Stefan van Ingelgern BEL 1 450
26. Judy Harvey (Qualifier) GBR 1 435
27. Tina Konyot USA 1 435
28. Pierre Saint Jacques USA 1 420
29. Belinda Trussel CAN 1 420
30. Anne van Uylert NED 1 420
31. Evi Strasser CAN 1 405
32. Elisabeth Austin USA 1 405
33. Sarah Jane Elmslie (Qualifier) GBR 1 405
34. Jane Gregory GBR 1 390
35. Constance Menard ISR 1 375
36. Dane Rawlins GBR 1 375
37. Michael Barisone USA 1 375
38. Marc Peter Spahn BEL 1 360
39. Remy Issartel FRA 1 360
40. Aat van Essen NED 1 360
41. Ulla Salzgeber GER 1 285
42. Diane Creech CAN 1 285
Note: In the case of tied points, the best individual result in Grand Prix will be decisive.
Rules can be found on www.worlddressagemasters.com. The finale in Munich will carry double ranking points.
Complete information on the Exquis World Dressage Masters is available on the updated Internet site, www.worlddressagemasters.com.
The 2010 WDM series began in Palm Beach on Feb. 4-6 where The Netherlands' Anky van Grunsven and Salinero won the Grand Prix Freestyle, USA's Leslie Morse and Tip Top won the Grand Prix Special and the USA's Steffen Peters and Ravel won the Grand Prix.
The schedule for the remainder of 2010 is:
- May 13-16 - Munich, Germany;
- June 10-13 - Cannes, France, and
- July 29-Aug. 1 - Hickstead, England
Photo: Isabell Werth of Germany after winning the Grand Prix Freestyle at the 2009 Exquis World Dressage Masters in Munich. © Ken Bradick/dressage-news.com