Charlotte Dujardin posted one of the highest grand prix scores ever seen at Windsor to win tonight’s Al Shira’aa grand prix with Erlentanz.
The 12-year-old Latimer gelding, whom Charlotte has the ride on while his owner and regular rider Sonnar Murray-Brown recovers from a broken leg, produced a personal best score of 78.09% to scoop victory by nearly 4%. The compact little gelding made no mistakes, and displayed super changes, hugely expressive passage and much improved extended trot, despite the rain starting to set in during their test.
“He was fantastic in that arena, he tried his heart out,” said Charlotte. “I’m so pleased with the score as well — I can’t ask for any more.”
Carl Hester returned to the Windsor arena with his 2015 winner, Nip Tuck (above), and slotted into second with 74.3%. This is only the 15-year-old Don Ruto son’s second competition since finishing individually fourth at the European Championships in 2017, and Carl did not push the 18hh gelding too much.
“I’m rode quite carefully — I’m saving him for the freestyle tomorrow,” he told H&H.
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Richard Davison took third with Bubblingh, his home-bred Lingh gelding. The 13-year-old gelding often gets stagefright and tenses up in the arena, but after a winter spent campaigning the World Cup circuit he looked remarkably relaxed here.
“I’m more pleased with the horse than the score,” said Richard, who received 72.98%. “That was probably the best ride I’ve had on him.
“He’s just a privilege to ride; he’s what keeps me riding! He has so much power and talent and I’m just starting to be able to tap into that. I think he’s a really top horse.”
Louise Bell finished fourth on her Windsor dressage debut — the former showing supremo has competed here many times in her former sphere, including with her 70.6%-scoring ride Inter The Blue.
The pair completed a super test in deteriorating weather conditions to finish just ahead of Ireland’s Heike Holstein and Sambuca in fifth.
The Al Shira’aa grand prix freestyle takes place tomorrow evening at 5.15pm.
Don’t miss the full coverage of Royal Windsor Horse Show in next week’s Horse & Hound, out 16 May