Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro were back to their best in Aachen today (Sunday 20 July) when winning the FEI grand prix freestyle with a spectacular 87.9%. The duo was awarded more than 90% from two judges; Francis Verbeek-van Rooy (M) and Isabelle Judet (B).
Charlotte and Valegro’s closest rivals were Germany’s Helen Langehanenberg and Damon Hill NRW, whom they followed into the arena after the stallion had earned 86.025% and a huge round of applause from the sold-out stadium.
Isabell Werth received a standing ovation for her freestyle aboard Bella Rose 2, who was third with 85.15%.
Matthias Rath withdrew Totilas, who won both the special yesterday and the grand prix on Thursday, because the stallion only returned to training recently and so Matthias, plus his connections, felt that the horse did not need the extra run.
It is cooler in Germany today following three days of temperatures in the 30s, which Charlotte said has been a factor in Valegro’s below par performances.
“I’ve never ridden him in this sort of heat before,” said Charlotte whose grand prix test on Friday was heavily penalised for the canter work, particularly the two-time changes.
“[The week] didn’t start well, but finally we got them,” she added. “I’m not disappointed with Valegro because it was all rider error. I love riding the freestyle and I felt confident today. We will work on the mistakes at home so that it doesn’t happen again at WEG.”
Britain’s only other representative in the freestyle, Michael Eilberg produced an impressive 80.475% with Half Moon Delphi for eighth place.
Read Horse & Hound’s full report on all the action in Aachen in Thursday’s magazine report, on sale 24 July, 2014