BRITISH TAKE THE LEAD IN TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP AS DUJARDIN SHINES by Louise Parkes
Rotterdam (NED), 17 August 2011 – Charlotte Dujardin (GBR) and Valegro created a great buzz of excitement with a delightful late-morning test at the FEI European Dressage Championships 2011 in Rotterdam, The Netherlands today that put the British on course for team gold for the first time in the 25-year history of the event.
A score of 78.830 from the 26-year-old who has been working as stable-rider for team-mate Carl Hester for the last four years, has cemented the British position. And it is now up to Dujardin’s boss, Hester riding the exciting Uthopia, and to Laura Bechtolsheimer with Mistral Hojris, to capitalise on the advantage provided by their considerably less-experienced colleague whose score, along with that of veteran Emile Faurie’s mark of 70.426 with Elmegardens Marquis, brought the British tally to 149.256.
Germany lies second as the action resumes in the morning, but they are heading the third-placed defending champions from The Netherlands by only just over a single point, so the battle for silver and bronze promises to be a close-fought affair.
HELD THE LEAD
Second into the arena, it was Helen Langehanenberg (GER) and Damon Hill NRW who held the lead after the first tranche of riders completed. But there was a tension about the work produced by the German duo who were awarded a score of 71.079. Meanwhile Faurie’s calm, controlled ride on the big bay gelding Elmegardens Marquis included some lovely piaffe, but few could have expected that his compatriot Dujardin would produce a personal-best performance on her debut at championship level to place the British in a position of such strength.