‘It’s good to have the best in the field’: Charlotte Dujardin collects maximum points at World Cup qualifier

Charlotte Dujardin has successfully kicked off her first World Cup campaign since her back-to-back titles with Valegro in 2014 and 2015, by finishing second in the World Cup qualifier in Lyon, France.

At her first ever indoor show, the 10-year-old Mount St John Freestyle posted 83.93% in the kür to slot into second place behind reigning World Cup champion, Germany’s Isabell Werth.

It always looked like Lyon would be a battle between these two riders. Having finished second behind Charlotte in the previous day’s grand prix, Isabell rode the 13-year-old Ehrenpreis gelding to freestyle victory with over 87%, making it the third year in a row this combination have won the Lyon leg of the World Cup tour.

“Welcome back Charlotte!” said Isabell. “It’s good to have the best in the field, and that is also what the public like to see.”

Charlotte and Freestyle were the last combination to go, but some nerves crept into their new “Snow Queen” routine.

“For the first time Freestyle was actually quite nervous,” Charlotte told H&H. “The crowds just in the warm-up arena were about six rows deep. She was very on edge in there and wouldn’t walk.

“In the test I just had to hold her hand a bit, and her nerves came out in a few parts, like the pirouettes, but she tried so hard.

“She’s actually done very little, which is something we all forget sometimes.”

Although she came second, Charlotte picked up the maximum number of points as defending champion Isabell receives a guaranteed place in the World Cup final. Charlotte now plans to compete Freestyle at Olympia, followed by the Amsterdam qualifier in January. The 2020 final takes place in Las Vegas in April.

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British riders also enjoyed success at this weekend’s Oldenburg CDI4* in Germany, with Lara Butler and Laura Tomlinson both finishing in the top five in the grand prix.

Lara rode the 14-year-old Polarion gelding Kristjan to second in the grand prix with plus-72%, followed by third place in the grand prix freestyle, while Laura Tomlinson and Rose Of Bavaria took fifth in the grand prix and third in the special, at the nine-year-old Bordeaux mare’s first ever international.

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