Riding Carl Hester and Sasha Stewart’s 14-year-old Metall stallion Uthopia, Charlotte Dujardin once again impressed not only the crowds but also the judges, scoring 77.46% to claim the top spot in Tuesday night’s Reem Acra FEI World Cup dressage grand prix, supported by Horse & Hound.
The pair pipped Carl Hester to the post, he and his own and Jane de la Mare’s Don Ruto 11-year-old Nip Tuck posting 76.66% to finish second with an athletic, confident performance to make it a British one-two.
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Dutch rider Hans Peter Minderhoud filled third position with the Florestan I 14-year-old Glock’s Flirt, snapping at Carl’s heels with a score of 76.12%. The pair made it look easy with a virtually mistake-free test, just marred by a loss of balance in the piaffe on the final centre line.
“I’m over the moon with that test,” said Charlotte afterwards. “Uthopia hasn’t competed for a long time and it’s a big atmosphere so I was thrilled with him. We haven’t done an awful lot of tests together, so it’s still a new partnership.
“Being a stallion, he is totally different to Valegro,” she added. “On Valegro I think and it just happens, whereas Uthopia I really have to ride every second. Being a stallion, he’s a bit smarter and more switched on, but he’s great fun to ride.
“Just the left pirouette was a little small. He knows that test inside out and he knew where that pirouette was before I got there.”
The top 15 combinations from the grand prix will go forward to contest Wednesday evening’s freestyle, when Carl and Nip Tuck will unveil their much-anticipated new routine, set to music from Mr Selfridge.