The final day of the Grand Prix tests at the Longines FEI European Championships welcomed Great Britain’s final two team members, Spencer Wilton and Carl Hester, to the arena. Producing two great tests, their scores, alongside Emile Faurie and Lollipop 126’s Grand Prix score saw Great Britain finish fourth in the team test.
First athlete in for Great Britain on day two, Spencer Wilton with Jen Goodman’s Super Nova II, produced a fabulous test in an electric atmosphere to see high marks awarded, notably through the passage. An uncharacteristic mistake from Neville out of his first pirouette proved costly, but Spencer kept his composure for a flawless final centre line, for a confirmed mark of 72.086%.
“I’m so pleased with him,” Spencer said, “he had quite a difficult time in the warm-up before we went in, but I felt like he was gaining confidence all the way through. Apart from the mistakes it felt that he did really nicely. I was really pleased with his passage, but he just wasn’t really relaxed enough – but I’m really pleased that he gave me the feeling that he was growing in confidence. It felt really good.
“I really, really hope we get through to the Special, it would be brilliant; I know he can do it and he’s a really good horse.”
Under the floodlights this evening, Carl Hester with Jane de la Mare and his own Nip Tuck, performed a stunning test with just a slight mistake in the rein back, to record a score of 74.900%, which saw them into fifth place individually.
Carl commented afterwards: “He really does his best. As usual, he’s so brilliant in canter, the two’s, the one’s, the pirouettes; he’s just so genuine. He really did get on with his job tonight.
“We’re going to be a snip off bronze and I’m gutted for the team, but for the sport as a whole, for Sweden to win a medal at home is very special; for us, Windsor lifted everyone to a new level in 2009. It just hasn’t gone our way and it just hasn’t been our championships, but for all three of us to be through to the Grand Prix Special is just fantastic.”
With the final scores confirmed, it was Germany who took the gold medal, with Denmark the silver and hosts Sweden the bronze, with Great Britain’s trio finishing fourth. Friday sees the Grand Prix Special contested, with the top 30 athletes coming forward from today’s test, including all three British athletes.
The British senior teams are supported by the BEF’s UK Sport National Lottery funded World Class Programme.