Charlotte Dujardin and Freestyle ‘wing’ their way to an 80% grand prix special debut

  • Charlotte Dujardin secured her sixth win of this year’s Bolesworth International Horse Show with 80.36%% in her first grand prix special on Mount St John Freestyle, while Carl Hester took freestyle victory on Hawtins Delicato.

    Charlotte admitted she had never even ridden the test through on Emma Blundell’s nine-year-old mare — and that the last special she herself had ridden was on Valegro in Rio — but the pair appeared totally unfazed, and they cruised through the routine with just a couple of small mistakes, earning an endless stream of nines, and a 10 for her final extended trot.

    “We haven’t even practised the special at home but sometimes I think it can be better to wing it — you don’t think too much about it then,” said Charlotte, who also topped yesterday’s grand prix with the Fidermark daughter. “We had a few little blips, like a late change in the two-times, which was annoying but just one of those things. I was looking forward to riding that test on her as I thought it would suit her, and I really enjoyed it.”

    Gareth Hughes was thrilled to take second with Classic Briolinca (pictured above), posting by far their best special score of 75.38%. The 12-year-old Trento B mare has suffered with soundness issues in the past couple of years, but she now looks stronger than ever, with a mistake-free test that oozed quality.

    Having opted to ride the freestyle rather than the special, it was Carl’s turn to triumph with Delicato, by Diamond Hit, but he was given a run for his money by former team-mate Richard Davison whose finished just 0.5% behind on the Lingh 12-year-old Bubblingh (both pictured below).

    Despite warming-up superbly, the 10-year-old Del showed some tension in the arena, with his piaffes and two-time changes suffering.

    “It was such a shame — he was so gorgeous in the warm-up today and felt like a million dollars — the best he ever has,” said Carl. “But it’s all going in the right direction. It’s a luxury to have a horse like that and I can’t believe how lucky I am to have another horse at this level.”

    Don’t miss our full report from Bolesworth in next week’s issue of Horse & Hound, out on 21 June.

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