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Elvis VA dominated Aachen CDIO with Germany’s Nadine Cappellmann from start to finish. The relaxed 10-year-old wowed the crowd with his spectacular extensions and passage, scoring 80.85% in the kür, a suitable medley of The King’s hits.

“I’m so happy he kept it together all three days,” said Nadine. “I had a wonderful feeling going into the arena and the crowd was so welcoming it made me relax.”

Nadine introduced difficult movements in the kür — a small canter zigzag that worked well and one-time changes on a loop, for which Elvis got carried away in his exuberance.

British based Kyra Kyrklund of Finland finished second with 11-year-old Swedish Warmblood Max.

“I love this horse; he works his heart out for me,” said Kyra, who bought Max unseen because he was by Master, for who Kyra had high hopes before he sustained an injury.
A friend who had ridden Max told her: “He has Kyra written all over him.”

“He was so sensitive you could hardly touch him,” said Kyra. “He’d had bad experiences and that’s why we have such a good relationship now. He learnt to trust me.”

Sandy Phillips justified her decision to step down as senior selector by finishing best of the British in the CDIO, making it into the kür with Lara. Lara produced a mistake-free performance in the special just off 70%. Sandy’s Andrew Lloyd Webber ensemble is yet to come together, so team-mate Emma Hindle lent her a compilation.

“The music was very loud in the arena and when it changed that set her off into canter for the trot half-pass,” said Sandy, who still scored 64.6% despite these errors.

Of Sandy’s British team-mates, Laura Bechtolsheimer and Emma Hindle made it through to the grand prix special. Laura rode her national champion Douglas Dorsey, but the pair did not earn their usual high scores.

“Douglas has done a lot recently and in Amsterdam [for the World Cup final] I was beginning to find he was a bit ordinary,” said Laura.

In the special, Douglas was much lighter in the hand and more active in piaffe and passage. But the judges kept their scores down. Laura now plans to give Douglas a rest while she concentrates on her second-year exams at Bristol University.

Emma Hindle and Lancet consolidated their win in Stadl Paura in Austria in April with a solid grand prix and special in Aachen.

“I had the canter a bit calmer for the special, with his whole way of going a little steadier and no mistakes,” said Emma, who scored slightly lower in the special than the grand prix despite having a clear round.