Denmark shoot into the lead at the European Dressage Championships after fantastic test from nine-year-old horse

  • Denmark have taken over the provisional gold medal position early on day two of the European Dressage Championships grand prix in Hagen, Germany. The Danish team were sitting in silver behind Britain after yesterday’s action, but a superb test from Daniel Bachmann Andersen and the nine-year-old Marshall-Bell has thrust their team to the top of the leaderboard, with Daniel currently sitting second behind Britain’s Lottie Fry.

    The Netherlands currently sit second as a team, with a super test from another nine-year-old horse, the Connaisseur mare Haute Couture ridden by Dinja van Liere, who scored 74.2%. Of the other teams who have had three riders go, Finland sit third, with Portugal fourth at this early stage.

    However, both Germany – in bronze overnight — and Britain still have two combinations to ride today, so there is plenty of potential for leaderboard reshuffling.

    Daniel and Marshall-Bell, a Danish-bred son of Blue Hors Don Romantic out of a Michellino mare, posted 76.37% – more than 3% higher than their previous international grand prix best. The nine-year-old gelding only made his debut at this level earlier this year and the European Dressage Championships is his first team appearance, but Daniel expertly guided him through a fluent performance, with expressive tempi changes, and bouncy, confident piaffe-passage work.

    “I was so proud of him. During the test, I was patting him many times because I was so proud of what he was giving me,” said Daniel. “I tried to not over-tire him and tried to make him think it’s fun in there. So in the places where I know he is still lacking of strength, I just asked for a little less, and the places where I know he can really get good scores I rode for it, like the changes and the piaffe-passage.”

    Denmark’s leading combination, Cathrine Dufour and Bohemian – fresh from their team and individual fourth place finish at the Tokyo Olympics – will ride at 12.48pm (11.48am BST).

    Carl Hester will be the first British rider in action today with En Vogue at 10.41am (9.41am BST), with Charlotte Dujardin and Gio going at 2.33pm (1.33pm BST).

    For Germany, Isabell Werth will ride Weihegold OLD at 10.24am (9.24 BST), with Olympic champions Jessica von Bredow-Werndl and TSF Dalera BB on at 2.15pm (1.15pm BST).

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