Sweden’s Patrik Kittel raised the bar in tonight’s Olympia grand prix freestyle, claiming victory on Delaunay OLD with 80.56%, putting them fractionally ahead of Britain’s Emile Faurie in second.
Patrik and the classy 11-year-old “Dude”, by Dr Doolittle, performed a faultless test with an exceptionally high degree of difficulty, helping them go one better than their second-place grand prix finish the previous night.
“He felt amazing and tried his heart out in there. He just wants to please and do his best,” said Patrik, for whom it was an emotional win having returned to the show after 13 years.
Britain’s Emile Faurie was astounded to finish an agonisingly close second behind Patrik in what was his first ever grand prix freestyle on the De Niro breeding stallion Delatio (below).
This horse is extremely exciting for the future, demonstrating great scope and power, coupled with an impressively relaxed attitude. Their fault-free test left them just 0.2% behind Patrik with 80.4%.
“I played it safe in the grand prix last night as I still don’t know him very well,” said Emile, who has only had the ride on Elena’s Knyaginicheva’s 13-year-old for three months. “He’s just such a trier – a really awesome horse who just wants to do it all. The quality speaks for itself and his concentration is incredible. I think there’s a few more percent in there.”
Last night’s grand prix winner Edward Gal finished third with the talented nine-year-old Glock’s Zonik (Blue Hors Zack x Romanov) who just showed his inexperience with a couple of mistakes in the kur. The pair still posted 79.34% with some hugely expressive, powerful work.
“Today he was a little more tense than yesterday and wondering what was happening in there with the music so loud. But he tried his best and he’s only a nine-year-old so what can you expect,” said Edward.
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Fellow Dutch rider Madeleine Witte-Vrees slotted into fourth with Cennin, just edging ahead of Britain’s Lara Butler, debuting a new freestyle with Rubin Al Asad. They posted 76.98% with a fantastic performance to a Dire Straits soundtrack to finish fifth.
Hayley Watson-Greaves took sixth for Britain, riding a beautiful test on the Rubin Royal son Rubins Nite to score 76.68%.
Richard Davison filled seventh with Bubblingh, while Gareth Hughes and Don Carissimo finished 13th.
Don’t miss the full report in Horse & Hound magazine, out on 21 December 2017.