Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro performed a flawless grand prix freestyle this afternoon in Las Vegas to take the Reem Acra FEI World Cup dressage title for the second year in a row.
Carl Hester, Roly Luard and Ann Bar’s 13-year-old Valegro scored 94.196%, just short of their own world record of 94.3%. They finished nearly 10% ahead of the opposition.
“I’m living the dream,” said Charlotte. “Coming here and doing what I do in front of 12,000 people is an incredible feeling. I never knew how Valegro was going to cope with the clapping, but he loved the American crowd — every time they clapped, it was like he was saying ‘Woohoo, I did something good.’
“I don’t look at the expectations as pressure — if I did I’d get nervous and worry about things. I just go in to do my best and that’s all I can do.”
The Netherlands’ Edward Gal finished second with Glock’s Undercover NOP, as in Thursday’s grand prix. He finished on a mark of 84.696%.
Asked about being the senior rider on the podium, he joked: “I feel 25 and after a few operations I can look 25. It’s not nice she keeps in front of me — I’m older, she should treat me with more respect.”
On a serious note, he added: “Charlotte does an amazing job and when the best person wins it’s good for the sport — and when I’m second that’s also good. And I know how it feels, so that’s good too.”
Germany’s Jessica von Bredow-Werndl managed to upset the grand prix placings by pushing into third with 80.393% on Unee BB.
“For me today was a rollercoaster of emotions — I came in and he was a bit scared of the light on the trophy. We started with a mistake [in the two-time changes] so I thought, ‘Now I have to go for it.'”
Jessica slipped ahead of Steffen Peters (80.357%) — third in the grand prix — although this became irrelevant when the American rider was eliminated after blood was found from a spur on Legolas’ side.
This left up-and-coming rider Laura Graves on Verdades as the best of the home side in fourth with 79.125% on Verdades.
Full report from World Cup dressage final in H&H this Thursday, out 23 April.