Steffen Peters Sets New Grand Prix Record at World Dressage Masters Palm BeachJanuary 28, 03:44
Wellington, FL (January 27, 2012) - American Steffen Peters took a step toward defending his 2011 World Dressage Masters Palm Beach title by winning the WDM Palm Beach Nürnberger Grand Prix test with a record-shattering score of 81.383%. Not only is that a personal best result in a CDI Grand Prix for Peters and Akiko Yamazaki's 14 year old KWPN gelding, it is also the highest score ever attained in a WDM Palm Beach Grand Prix.
"I started to have the feeling I got from Ravel tonight in the last couple of weeks," said Peters after his decisive victory over the international field of 16 competitors. "I had this feeling at a show two weeks ago in California, but I had to risk it a bit more here. Ravel feels even stronger than last year and more supple. It was a blast to ride."
Finishing in second place behind Peters was Great Britain's Charlotte Dujardin riding Valegro, a ten year old KWPN gelding co-owned by Carl Hester and Roly Luard. Dujardin's score of 78.468% was nearly three points behind Peters, but it was a full five percentage points higher than the third placed pair, Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven of Sweden on Antonia Ax:son Johnson's 13 year old Rheinlander gelding Favourit, with a score of 73.255%.
The WDM Palm Beach presented by International Polo Club Palm Beach is Dujardin's North American debut. For Peters and Vilhelmson-Silfven, their placings in the Grand Prix are identical to the 2011 WDM Palm Beach on the same horses, though the scores are higher than a year ago. "I think we had so many good horses in this class," said FEI five star dressage judge Gary Rockwell, president of the ground jury.
The 2012 WDM Palm Beach Grand Prix has also set records for spectators, with well over a thousand people in the stands and at ringside VIP tables on Friday afternoon. For the first time ever, USEF Network live streamed the entire competition in High Definition not only for the web, but also for smart phones. People from all over the world - from Canada to Germany to Japan - logged in on computers and mobile devices to watch the event.
"I was really pleased with the number of spectators who came today," said Noreen O'Sullivan of Wellington Classic Dressage, which is the Official Show Producer of the WDM Palm Beach. "It's a wonderful statement about the state of our sport." A completely full Jim Brandon Equestrian Center is expected for Saturday afternoon's sold out Grand Prix Special and the evening Grand Prix Freestyle. Eight pairs from the Grand Prix, including the top three from the Grand Prix, have opted to enter the Freestyle, while the remaining eight will compete in the Grand Prix Special.
Live streaming video will continue to bring WDM Palm Beach action to fans around the world on Saturday. In addition to their broadcast at www.internationalpoloclub.com, IPC Palm Beach has created a smartphone application that will be available at the Jim Brandon Center. The application will provide live stream video of the competition, as well as up-to-the-minute information about the competitors and results. USEF Network's live streaming coverage can be found at www.usefnetwork.com. Eurosport will also broadcast a feature about the WDM Palm Beach on the February 22nd episode of Wednesday Selection.
The World Dressage Masters presented by Axel Johnson Group is the most prestigious dressage series in the world, and with €400,000 in prize money awarded at 2011 WDM events, also the richest. The field at the 2012 WDM Palm Beach represents some of the world's top ranked and most successful horses and riders.