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A great new pair of dressage rivals was declared today as the Netherland’s Anky van Grunsven with Gestion Salinero beat Germany’s Ulla Salzgeber and Rusty to the individual prize at the Aachen CDIO. The pair will meet again in three weeks time at the Athens Olympics where the competition will be replayed.

“I really didn’t count on victory in Aachen today,” said Anky, who was the individual gold medallist at the Sydney Olympics with her great Bonfire. “It was one of those occasions when you have to give your best and everything went smoothly for us today.”

The outcome was a knife-edge battle with just 0.296% separating the top two going into the music freestyle decider. Ulla and Rusty finished less than 1% behind the Dutch pair and lost the battle due to a spook at F and a mistake in the extended trot.

“I really don’t know why Rusty spook today,” said Ulla, “but now [looking ahead to Athens] I am coming from behind so I will be giving it 1000% (one thousand %) there.”

It is the first time in 14 years that a non-German has claimed the individual grand prix dressage prize at Aachen, and despite coming close with Bonfire several times over the years, this is Anky’s first Aachen title.

“It’s a historic victory,” said Volker Moritz, judge at C, “and for the last 33 years that I have judged here the level overall is higher than ever before.”

Nicola McGivern and Active Walero rode an exciting kur with a high degree of difficulty to score 73.3% for Britain. The pair finished in overall 13th position in the individual competition.

Individual results (after grand prix, grand prix special and kur)

1. Gestion Salinero (Anky van Grunsven) 236.23 NED;
2. Rusty (Ulla Salzgeber) 235.65 GER;
3. Weltall VA (M Schaudt) 229.80 GER;
13. Active Walero (Nicola McGivern) 212.75 GBR.