Charlotte and Valegro return with bang and a world record at Olympia, The London International Horse Show
On their first appearance since winning team and individual gold medals at the London Olympic Games, Charlotte Dujardin (GBR) and Valegro not only blew away the opposition in the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage Leg supported by Horse & Hound, but also gained a new World grand prix record score in doing so.
The pair gained a score of 84.447% which beat their Olympic score of 83.66% and the previous World record of 84.08%, set by Edward Gal and Totilas at the European Championship at Windsor in 2009. The score also won the class by a margin of 8%.
Valegro stormed through the test with ease and never put a foot wrong. “He feels better than ever and I am sure has come back stronger,” said Charlotte who in contrast to her horse is not well. “He has had a great holiday since London and had a very easy time with lots of hacking and I only picked him up to start more serious work about a month ago. However he is a hot horse and I was not sure how he would be and on arrival he certainly felt really jolly which made me wonder but he totally delighted me.”
Isabell Werth (GER) a former winner at Olympia, The London International Horse Show, made a welcome return to the arena and was second with the Don Frederico 11-year-old, Don Johnson. “I didn’t see Charlotte’s test only the score and thought ‘wow we have to really try our best’,” said Isabell. “Don Johnson has developed a lot in the last few months even and he gave me a great Christmas present tonight.”
Edward Gal (NED) and his Olympic ride Glock’s Undercover took third place just 5.5 marks behind and the popular Dutchman was gracious in handing over his record. “Undercover is not good enough for me to get that back just yet – but maybe next year,” said Edward, a regular visitor to Olympia. The class was only the second ever indoor competition for Undercover. “It was all a bit exciting for him and he still has a lot to learn,” said Edward. “Yesterday he was a bit wild and today a bit tense so hopefully he will be better again tomorrow.”
Less than 3% divided the next five placed riders with Swedish rider Minna Telde and the 11-year-old Sandro Hit stallion Santana in fourth ahead of the young Danish rider Sidsel Johansen and the 13-year-old Schianto.
British Olympic team gold medallist Carl Hester had a less easy return to the International arena with Uthopia. The Dutch-bred stallion was unsettled in parts losing rhythm and fluency and the pair had to settle for sixth place.