Carl Hester has told H&H that Valegro is looking fantastic ahead of tomorrow’s grand prix special in Aachen, following a below par performance in yesterday’s grand prix.

Charlotte Dujardin finished in sixth place individually on 76.9% after some problems in both lines of flying changes and the pirouettes. Matthias Rath and Totilas won the class with 82.3%.

“I could see on her face that she [Charlotte] was shocked,” said Carl. “People have been asking whether I’m cross — but how can you be cross with someone who is feeling like that? I’m just being supportive.

“It was a hot day — 31°C — and we’re not used to riding in this heat. ‘Blueberry’ is fine. We’ve worked him this morning and he looked fantastic. Hopefully they will be back to normal tomorrow.

“Last year we went for a practice run before the Europeans and the same thing happened, but it was a smaller show, so no-one saw it.”

I decided not to ride [in Aachen] so that I could be on the ground to help if something went wrong. Charlotte and I are usually drawn quite close together and I didn’t want that to happen.

“The Germans look really strong — pretty unstoppable [for the World Equestrian Games]. We are not letting them have it all their own way — we all know Valegro is capable of scoring in the 80s — but I think in the team standing it will be difficult to catch them.”

The grand prix special gets underway tomorrow (Saturday 18 July) at 9am local time.

View the grand prix special start list

Stay in touch with the news as it happens on HorseandHound.co.uk, and don’t miss our full report in Horse & Hound magazine, on sale Thursday 24 July

Picture by Paul Harding of lewishardingimages.com