Text and Photos copyrighted: Astrid Appels/Eurodressage.com
In front of a sell-out crowd of 11,000 spectators, Anky van Grunsven won her ninth World Cup victory, her fourth aboard her Hanoverian gelding Salinero (by Salieri x Lungau). It was a clash of the titans with a first head-to-head between Van Grunsven and Isabell Werth since the 2007 European Championships in Turin, Italy, August 2007. As Isabell brought her "second" Grand Prix horse Warum Nicht, the winner of the 2007 World Cup Finals in Las Vegas, and because she made one mistake in her kur, Werth slotted in second place, the runner up position at the show and Anky van Grunsven won the 2008 World Cup Finals.
It was a thriller Finals in Den Bosch with ten riders scoring above 70% in the Kur to Music and at least seven of them achieving more than 75%. The absolute world class had gathered in de Brabanthallen and it was exhilarating to see so many quality horses assembled from all over the world.
In order to win, Anky van Grunsven had to stay fault free, which is something she knows how to do. With the knowledge in mind that Isabell had made a mistake and that 82.600% was the score to beat, it could be done. Anky had won two World Cup Qualifiers with Salinero this season scoring 83,050% and 83.850%. All she had to do to win in Den Bosch was keep the lid on the cooker.