Charlotte Dujardin and Mount St John Freestyle finished an agonisingly close second behind defending World Cup champions Isabell Werth and Weihegold OLD at this weekend’s qualifier in Amsterdam.
Charlotte and Emma Blundell’s 11-year-old Fidermark mare posted 89.5% — a new personal best for the pair by 2% — to take second behind Isabell, who scored 90.28%. They will, however, earn maximum points fron this qualifier; as defending champion Isabell receives an automatic place in the final, which takes place in Las Vegas, USA, in April.
Charlotte and Freestyle — who was the youngest horse in the class — now sit in joint fourth on the Western European World Cup rankings, having already taken home 20 points apiece from Lyon in November and Olympia in December (pictured above), and look to be on track for a place in the final. This would be the first time Charlotte has contested the World Cup final since her back-to-back wins with Valegro in 2014 and 2015. She is aiming to compete Freestyle at one more qualifier: s’Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands in March.
“I knew I had quite a score to beat, but Freestyle felt good and I tried my best to give her the most confidence possible,” said Charlotte, who also achieved a personal best score of 81.95% with the mare in Friday’s grand prix. “Coming in today for the music I knew I had to go for it and try my best, and I was really pleased — this is the best she’s ever been!”
Isabell Werth, who has now breached 90% on six occasions with the Don Schufro daughter Weihegold, added: “That was very tough between Charlotte and me — this year is going to be interesting!”
Britain’s Lottie Fry also adding to her tally of World Cup points, finishing 9th with 78.25% on the 11-year-old Lord Leatherdale stallion Everdale.
It was an extremely high class competition, with the top eight riders all scoring over 80%. The Netherlands’ Edward Gal took third place with 85.39% behind Isabell and Charlotte, riding the 12-year-old Blue Hors Zack stallion Glock’s Zonik.
Don’t miss this week’s issue of H&H for the full report from Amsterdam CDIW, on sale Thursday 30 January.
Would you like to read Horse & Hound’s independent journalism without any adverts? Join Horse & Hound Plus today and you can read all articles on completely ad-free