Dressage Drama on The Opening Day of the 2009 Rolex FEI World Cup™ Finals in Las Vegas

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Las Vegas, NV-April 15, 2009- One girl's dream was dashed today when new Dutch dressage star Adelinde Cornelissen was forced to withdraw her ride, Parzival, from the 2009 Rolex FEI World Cup™ Dressage final which kicks off in the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas at noon Thursday. The 29 year old rider's horse suffered a tendon injury on Tuesday and, although Adelinde walked him around the ring during this afternoon's warm-up session, it was clear he was unsound.  In deep disappointment she was forced to withdraw the horse with which she created a massive sensation on the European circuit this season with three superb wins during the qualifying rounds.  Parzival is a 12 year old KWPN gelding by Jazz Pref.

And the drama didn't stop there.

Adelinde's star is a rising one however.  She caused a huge stir when second to Sweden's Jan Brink in Falsterbo in 2007 and then rocked the dressage world again when runner-up to Germany's Isabell Werth at Aachen, Germany the following season on just her third international competition abroad.  The Dutch Olympic team had already been chosen at that stage, so the blossoming partnership were named as reserves for Hong Kong last summer, but Adelinde had been hoping that she would get the chance to prove just how good they could be under the Las Vegas spotlights this week.  That wasn't to be however....
photo: Astrid Appels a s 'Hertogenbosch

And the drama didn't stop there.  Dressage Ground Jury member, Dr. Vincenzo Truppa, had to be replaced today by Assistant Technical Delegate and Reserve Judge Maribel Alonso de Quinzanos from Mexico when he failed to turn up.  It wasn't by choice however, as the Italian dressage judge, who is a Tax Advisor by profession, found himself cast away on an island off Iceland when his flight from Rome was forced into an emergency landing after its Alitalia pilot suffered a heart attack.  All passengers are holed up in a hotel overnight and will be flown to New York tomorrow, but the show must go on without Dr Truppa.

Horses and riders took the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the unusually-shaped Las Vegas ring today.  Defending champion Anky Van Grunsven took her turn with IPS Painted Black and Poland's Michal Rapciewicz showed why he and his horse Randon won the Central European qualifying series.  But there was something about Steffen Peters and Ravel - a kind of quiet confidence, easiness and trust.  It was like watching a pair of old friends in familiar conversation and enjoying each other's company.  There is a maturity in this relationship now that has never been evident before, and Steffen knows it.  As they executed all the difficult movements, Steffen patted his big, powerful horse gently on the neck to reassure him.  It was picture of relaxation and concentration.

"He's in really good shape for the last two weeks, he feels very supple and comfortable in himself and he produced one of the best performances of his life two weeks ago.  He's one of those horses that knows he can do it and wants to do it and I'm hoping we can hold onto what we have right now" the American rider said after coming out of the ring.  "I want to be careful about making predictions though" he added, "I'll do my best, but with riders like Anky and Isabel you have to be realistic - it would be a really good result to finish in the top four in a competition at this level - although if you don't want to win then you shouldn't be here!" he added.

The jumpers took their turn throughout the morning, playing around with the fences and preparing for their first big test which will take place tomorrow night.  Last year's Rolex FEI World Cup™ Final in Gothenburg, Sweden was a real thriller and America's Rich Fellers presented an extraordinary challenge to the eventual winner, Germany's Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum.  In Las Vegas the stage is set for another battle of the giants.

About the Rolex FEI World Cup Finals

First held in 1986, the FEI World Cup Dressage Final has been held in the U.S. three times, in 1995 in Los Angeles and 2005 and 2007 in Last Vegas.  The Netherlands has dominated the competition, winning nine titles, followed by Germany with seven.  The United Stats won its first title in 2003 when Debbie McDonald rode Brentina to the championship.

Started in 1979, the FEI World Cup Jumping Final is an annual international showdown among the world's best show jumping horses and riders.  Approximately 45 riders qualify from leagues around the world.  In the 30 finals held through 2008, United States riders have emerged with the most titles, having won the championship seven times.

The Rolex FEI World Cup™ Finals will continue at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas through Sunday.  The Finals feature World Cup Finals in the two Olympic disciplines of show jumping and dressage.

About Las Vegas Events

Founded in 1983, Las Vegas Events, Inc. has grown with Las Vegas as the city has emerged as one of the world's top special event and resort destinations.  A private, not-for-profit organization, LVE is funded by hotel room tax and serves as the exclusive major special events agency for the city.  Since 1991, Las Vegas Events has produced, presented or supported more than 480 events, which have driven more than 4.4 million visitors to the area, resulting in an economic impact of more than $2.7 billion.

Further information about the Rolex FEI World Cup Jumping and Dressage Finals, including information on purchasing tickets, is available at the official website at www.worldcuplasvegas.com .