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The Netherlands’ Alex van Silfhout took today’s special in addition to yesterday’s grand prix at Hickstead CDIO, West Sussex.

Alex rode Luxform’s Nimbly and produced an expressive test for 71.2% — their passage was consistently awarded eights and nines by the judges.

Alex said: “My horse feels really confident here at Hickstead. He can get tight and tense, but when he’s relaxed like this he does some really good work.”

Alex will try for a hat-trick in tomorrow’s grand prix kür.

“Our music is quiet but it fits the horse very well and we have scored 77% with this freestyle,” said Alex.

Yesterday’s second-placed rider, Frank Freund, had a difficult time on an uncooperative Amoucheur and was eliminated after several disobediences.

Maria Eilberg was best of the British contingent in seventh on Two Sox, just ahead of Stephanie Croxford and Mr President.

Gareth Hughes continues his run of success with wife Rebecca Patmore’s Sandman, who took his first ever freestyle, the intermediaire, with 74.1%.

“Sandman’s been incredible all week. He was lacking a bit of petrol today but was still very elastic in his way of going and getting really positive comments from the judges,” said Gareth.

Spencer Wilton is making a comeback with Dolendo and won the CDI grand prix special ahead of Richard Barrett and Alcatraz who took the CDI grand prix.

Garry Williams and Showmaker triumphed in the Prestige Five-Year-Old International Young Horse final, going ahead of Carl Hester’s Valegro ridden by Charlotte Dujardin.

For a full report and pictures from dressage at Hickstead don’t miss Horse&Hound 2 August