Her triumph was in stark contrast to the final day here last year, when it was announced that she would not be considered for the German Olympic team in Athens because of a positive dope test on Shutterfly three months earlier. It was not until April this year that she was exonerated.
"Last year was possibly the worst day of my entire life," said the Californian-born rider, who changed nationality when she married her German husband Markus Beerbaum. "I was grateful to the people of Aachen for standing by me, so I wanted to give them something in return by winning the Grand Prix here. That could have made the half-second difference in the winning margin."
After jumping two clear rounds, Michaels-Beerbaum was first into the four-horse jump-off. Intent on giving her opponents a tough target, she flew round with a catch-me-if-you-can abandon. Two Belgians - Dirk Demeersman on Clinton and Jos Lansink on Cavalor Cumano - narrowly failed to overtake her, and she became the first woman to win since 1991.
No British riders were among the 18 to qualify for the second round. Mark Armstrong had five faults on Thesaura; both Michael Whitaker on Portofino and Nick Skelton on Arko III incurred eight faults; Ellen Whitaker had 22 faults on a jaded Locarno.
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