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Isabell Werth’s plus-80% scores in both Thursday’s grand prix and the grand prix special secured victory for the German team in the Lambertz dressage Nations Cup in Aachen today (Saturday, 22 July).

The German rider (pictured, below) got her week off to a great start by winning Thursday’s grand prix with 83.171% aboard Weihegold OLD.

However, she had to settle up for the runner-up spot in today’s grand prix special — and a reverse in the top-two placings — after young American rider Laura Graves and Verdades produced an impressive 81.824% score.

It was Laura’s biggest win to date on the 15-year-old Florett As gelding and also the best 30th birthday present she could hope for.

“Today was our day and my horse gave me a great birthday present,” said Laura, who posted a 10 for her passage and two 10s for her final halt.

“He found the warm-up a little tricky today because he was confused about what test he was doing, however, as soon as went into the stadium he clicked into gear. When we turned right after the centre line, he was like ‘Okay mum, I know it is the special!’ — I could not be more pleased with him.

“Aachen brings out the top riders and I would rather be second to Isabell all day long than be riding among competition that is not so fierce — I think that is what keeps me motivated.”

Isabell was pleased with the 10-year-old daughter of Don Schufro’s performance. Despite some minor mistakes in her two-tempi changes in today’s special, the pair also received a flurry of 10s.

“I’m not unhappy but two days ago she was just brilliant and on point. Today, I just felt she didn’t quite know what to do — it was our first special since Rio last year,” explained Isabell.

“It is no drama and it’s good to know before the European Championships that she needs more confidence for the special.”

Fellow German Sönke Rothenberger took third in the special partnering Cosmo 59, having scored near the 78% mark in both tests, while Dorothee Schneider (Sammy Davis Jr) was pleased with her sixth in the special.

Brits qualify for the freestyle

The British team finished in sixth with both Emile Faurie and Hayley Watson-Greaves (Rubins Nite) qualifying for tomorrow’s freestyle.

Emile finished best of the Brits in 16th with his “dude” Lollipop 126 — scoring 70.765%.

“He’s never been in a stadium of this size in his life — so he’s coped with the atmosphere really well,” said Emile.

The team fielded just three riders after the last-minute withdrawal of Susan Pape.

Gill Davison was pleased with Alfranco’s grand prix test on Thursday, however, the pair finished lower down the scoreboard in today’s grand prix special after scoring 64.863%.

Team standings