Italian rider Valentina Truppa won the fifth leg of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage series in Frankfurt, Germany yesterday with a great performance from Eremo Del Castegno.
Italy's Valentina Truppa pictured with Lisa Wells from Reem Acra after her victory, riding Eremo Del Castegno, in the fifth leg of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage 2011/2012 series at Frankfurt, Germany yesterday. © FEI/Karl-Heinz Freiler.
The 25-year-old from Monferrato in Northern Italy, a prolific winner already in her career, pinned Germany's Monica Theodorescu and Dorothee Schneider into second and third places respectively, while Sweden's Patrik Kittel finished fourth ahead of The Netherlands' Hans Peter Minderhoud in fifth.
It was a disappointing day for German superstar Isabell Werth who threw down the gauntlet with victory in Saturday's preliminary Grand Prix, but who had to settle for sixth place this time around in the Grand Prix Freestyle to Music. While her flamboyant nine-year-old Don Johnson showed flashes of brilliance, the accumulation of mistakes during their lively test proved too expensive.
The result has boosted Truppa to runner-up spot on the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Western European League 2011/2012 leaderboard which is now headed by Kittel, but it is very tight at the top. Just three marks separate the three leading riders going into the next leg of the series at Mechelen in Belgium after Christmas.
Hans Peter Minderhoud was heading the scoreboard at the judging break that followed the first nine of the 14 starters. The 2011 European individual bronze medalist won the opening leg of the winter-long series at Odense in Denmark in October riding the 11 year old chestnut stallion, IPS Tango, and this time set the target with the same horse when posting a mark of 75.825.
That was instantly dismissed when the action resumed, as Dorothee Schneider and Diva Royal lifted German hearts with a lovely test on their FEI World Cup series debut. The handsome black nine-year-old by Don Frederico produced crisp, clear movements with considerable panache to create a very pleasing picture for a score of 77.025. Schneider, from Framersheim in Germany, has trained several horses to Grand Prix level and Diva Royal, still only a nine-year-old, looks full of potential.
But once again the lead changed when Theodorescu and Whisper raised the bar with a mark of 78.200, the 48-year-old triple-gold Olympian stamping her authority with a good ride on her powerful chestnut. With just three left to go however, Truppa then took her turn, and with lovely extended trot and a programme that included some daring one-handed one-tempi changes, she took over at the top with a score of 79.950.
And she couldn't be caught, despite a great effort from Stockholm winners Patrik Kittel and Toy Story and the final partnership of Werth and Don Johnson. Werth's horse produced some sparkling moments, including lovely two-tempi and one-tempi changes and graceful pirouette, but it was testament to his rider's supreme skill and experience that he quickly recovered his equilibrium after some naughty moments of disobedience.
For Truppa, it was yet another in a series of successes at one of her all-time favourite venues. "I'm very happy with my riding and with my horse who felt really good today," she said afterwards.
"Frankfurt is a very special place for me because I won the FEI World Cup Dressage Final for Young Riders here on three occasions," she added.
Trond Asmyr, FEI Dressage Director said: "It is good to see such a young rider developing so quickly. Already Valentina is capable of competing against the best riders in the world".
Earlier this year she showed just how much her riding has matured when placing 13th individually at the FEI European Championships in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. And at Frankfurt this weekend, the next generation of dressage stars were making their presence felt, just as Truppa did at this important fixture in previous years.
At just 19 years of age, Germany's Sanneke Rothenberger is already a phenomenal success with 10 Championship gold medals under her belt. And yesterday she added the 2011 FEI World Cup Dressage for Young Riders A-Final title to her tally with a clear win when scoring 79.100 with Deveraux to finish ahead of Denmark's Carina Neverman-Torup and Blue Boy on 76.650 and Sweden's Elin Aspnas and Donna Romma with 72.525 in third.
In the B-Final, Switzerland's Simona Aeberhard and Active Private Dancer came out on top with The USA's Isabelle Leibler (Watson) in second and Italy's Riccardo Sanavio (Lullaby) in third.