Charlotte Dujardin has beaten Isabell Werth to win the grand prix at this week’s World Cup qualifier in Lyon, France.
Charlotte rode Emma Blundell’s nine-year-old Mount St John Freestyle to score a shade under 80% and win the class by a comfortable margin, with every judge having her at the top of the leaderboard.
“I was really pleased with the whole test — it was pretty much a clear round, and Freestyle tried really hard. It’s not often I watch my test back and I’m pleased with it but I am today,” Charlotte, who earned 79.98% with the Fidermark mare, told H&H.
“This is her first time doing the indoor season and we didn’t even do an arena walk as it was so late last night, but Freestyle wasn’t spooky at all.”
Her scoresheet featured plenty of nines, for movements including the extended trot and canter, half-passes, both sets of tempi changes and the right pirouette.
Germany’s triple world and European gold medallist Isabell Werth posted 77.83% to finish second on the 13-year-old Ehrenpreis gelding she has won here with for the past two years, Emilio 107. Jessica von Bredow-Werndl and Zaire-E took third on 76.44%, also for Germany.
This is Charlotte’s first time seriously contesting the World Cup series since she won back-to-back titles with Valegro in 2014 and 2015.
Watch their winning freestyle dressage to music performance
The 14.3hh breeding stallion won the open grand prix freestyle championship at the US Dressage Finals in Kentucky, USA
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It was also her first international appearance since she and Freestyle were eliminated following their grand prix test at the European Championships in August, after blood was found on the mare’s flank, but Charlotte said that the events in Rotterdam were not on her mind here.
“I felt no apprehension at all — I didn’t have any of that in my head,” said Charlotte. “I just wanted to go in and have another good crack at the test.”
The pair will contest the grand prix freestyle tomorrow, which forms the World Cup qualifier. They will ride at 6.20pm (5.20pm UK time) to their new music, which they debuted at Hartpury in July with over 86%, but have not had the chance to ride to since.
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