For the fifth consecutive year Charlotte Dujardin has won the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage Grand Prix (supported by Horse & Hound), much to the delight of the packed crowds at Olympia, The London International Horse Show.
While the last four Grands Prix have been won with her Olympic gold medal partner Valegro, this year her winning ride was Uthopia (77.46%). The 14-year-old breeding stallion owned by Carl Hester was last ridden in competition by Dujardin to win the Grand Prix at Royal Windsor 19 months ago. He was also the horse that gave Hester his first team gold (European in 2011).
Uthopia came back to competition like he had never been away with a mistake free test full of expression and as first to go, the pair was the one to catch. Hester and Jane De La Mare’s team horse Nip Tuck (76.66%) couldn’t quite match the score. Despite highlights of clean piaffe and pirouettes the extensions failed to match those of the stallion and the pair was just less than 1% behind for second. While Dutch rider Hans Peter Minderhoud, a regular at Olympia, produced a strong test with Glock’s Flirt (76.12%) the 10-year-old Florestan gelding ran out of steam on the final line, losing balance and rhythm and valuable marks, to be a close third.
Unlike the past four years this year’s win was an unexpected one for Dujardin especially as the indoor arena and the electric atmosphere at Olympia can prove difficult to master.
“It was quite a risk to come here and you couldn’t do that with many horses but he has the best temperament in the world and I am over the moon to win.”
“It was also nice to bring another horse, take the pressure off Valegro and give another horse a chance,” said Dujardin who would now like to take Uthopia to Amsterdam.
Hester intends to come out fighting in tomorrow’s Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Freestyle with a new test for Nip Tuck set to new music based on the TV programme Mr Selfridge.
“I have gone for the most difficult test possible,” said Hester.
Photo: Kit Houghton/Hpower