The British team scored a historical win in the Nations Cup team dressage competition in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. This is the second dressage Nations Cup of this year’s pilot series and the result was decided on the grand prix test.
Daniel Watson posted an international personal best with the Fidermark son Fideramber of 67.83%, shortly followed by Carl Hester and the Florestan gelding Fine Time’s 71.53% and another plus-70% score from Gareth Hughes and DV Stenkjers Nadonna.
Valegro (pictured above), now 11, stormed around with his customary bounce and expression for 82.191% under Charlotte Dujardin — a mega score but more than 2% shy of their world grand prix record set at Olympia in December.
Valegro has not been beaten since January 2012.
Daniel said: “We were first to go so it was nice and quiet. I’m overwhelmed by the win — I’m not used to all this attention, I’m normally on my own at shows! This is the best day of my life and nothing tops it.”
The main rivals, the Dutch, had three scores just shy of 70% with their trump card Edward Gal (Glock’s Undercover) still to go.
Three scores from the four riders count towards the final classification. Edward would have needed to exceed Charlotte’s current world record of 84.447% to take the Dutch into the lead.
For much of the test he wavered around that mark, but wobbly changes and an ugly final halt saw the score drop to 79.66%, leaving the Brits the clear winners of the opening leg, scooping the €9,000 first prize.
Gareth Hughes (pictured) was thrilled to gain 4% on his test score from the shame show last year with Nadonna.
“She held her nerve and at the last three shows she’s become really secure and is showing herself more,” he said of the Donnerschlag daughter. “It was really nice to break the 70% barrier as part of the team. You think the individual wins are the pinnacle, but to be able to share it makes it more special.
“We’re having a great time together and celebrating — but I don’t really drink so I’ll smell some champagne!”
The British average score was 74.624% to the Dutch 73.035%. Sweden, who fielded a team of just three, were third with an average score of 69.291%.
Charlotte (Uthopia) and Carl (Dances With Wolves) will ride in the CDI3* competition on Thursday evening. They finished second and third respectively in the opening grand prix.
The CDIO5* fixture at Aachen in Germany will stage the next leg on 27 June and the series will draw to a close at Hickstead CDIO3* on Sunday 4 August where the result will be decided on the grand prix freestyle.
For full results from the Nations Cup opening round click here.