It was a great night for British dressage in the opening performance of this year's London International Horse Show at Olympia.
Charlotte Dujardin claimed an emphatic victory in the Olympia Grand Hall when she and Mount St John Freestyle danced their way to the FEI Dressage World Cup Grand Prix title. Their polished performance belied the fact that this was Freestyle’s first competitive outing to Olympia, although she has taken part in a demonstration here with Carl and Charlotte previously.
Their score of 81.553% was almost 6% higher than the next best-placed combination. “It’ll be an interesting drive home,” laughed Charlotte’s coach Carl Hester when the judges’ scores revealed that he and Hawtins Delicato would again take the bridesmaid position behind Charlotte and Freestyle. Offering up a much more relaxed test than during their previous outing at the FEI European Championships in Rotterdam, Carl and ‘Del’ earned 75.789%.
Charlotte (Lottie) Fry’s rare journey from the Netherlands to compete on her native soil paid off. Riding Everdale, her second-string horse behind Europeans ride Dark Legend, Lottie pulled off an expressive test to score 75.368% and hold the lead for over an hour until Charlotte entered the ring. They eventually settled for third, less than half a percent behind Carl.
The result bodes well for Charlotte Dujardin’s World Cup campaign, and she is aiming Freestyle at the final in Las Vegas in April. Tonight’s grand prix test serves as a qualifier for tomorrow’s FEI Dressage World Cup Freestyle class, where valuable series points will be up for grabs. You can tune in at 19:40 to catch the live broadcast on the BBC Red Button, on BBC iPlayer or online.
For full details on all the competition action, click here.