The newly formed duo Guenter Seidel and Nikolaus went full blast at the CDI*** Del Mar National Horse Show in California. This USET Qualifier for the Festival of Champions took place from April 26 to April 29, 2001. Taking the lead in the Grand Prix with a score of 69.33%, Seidel dominated a group of 17 riders. His Kur to Music was even more fruitful than his Grand Prix performance. By putting 72.79% on the score boards, Seidel and Nikolaus just missed the winner's trophy, finishing second in the freestyle. It was Idaho citizen Debbie McDonald aboard Brentina who reigned supreme in the musical test with 73.08%.
Seidel's show debut on his Westfalian Nikolaus was actually made at the CDI-W*** Rancho Murieta, CA, April 12 to 15, 2001. In Nevada City, CA, Seidel rode a 68.60% Grand Prix ranking again in second place behind River Grove Farm's Debbie McDonald. The winning score of 68.42% in the Special, however, was the ultimate coronation for these "debutants".
Nikolaus was sold in March 2001 and transported to Guenter Seidel's stable in Rancho Santa Fé, CA, as a talented successor and stable mate for Foltaire. Nadine Capellmann trained the bay gelding by Weinberg x Exponent up to Grand Prix level under the guidance of Klaus Balkenhol. As Nikolaus was Capellmann's third Grand Prix horse, there was no need to refuse the excellent offer of sale to the United States.