‘A very nice Christmas present’: Olympia debutant takes grand prix freestyle title

German rider Frederic Wandres caused a stir when he claimed the Olympia grand prix freestyle title this evening (18 December), by the smallest of margins.

Frederic and the British-bred 11-year-old Duke Of Britain (by Dimaggio) finished their stunning freestyle on exactly the same score as Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin and the 10-year-old Hawtins Delicato — posting 80.03%. However, it was Frederic who had the slightly higher artistic score, and therefore clinched the victory.

”This is the best show I’ve ever been to — and we reached the magical 80%,” said Frederic who, despite being in his first season with “Harry”, has previously scored up to 79% for this freestyle.

“To win this, against Charlotte and Hans Peter — it’s a very nice Christmas present!”

Charlotte used Valegro’s 2011 freestyle routine for her test on Carl Hester, Lady Anne Evans and Ann Cory’s Diamond Hit son Del (above), who has only ever completed one previous grand prix freestyle.

“Last night he was a bit sticky, but today he felt much more ready and prepared,” Charlotte said. “It’s only his second freestyle test, and it didn’t have a very high degree of difficulty — there’s no piaffe turns — but he will have come away from it really confident.”

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Last night’s grand prix winner Hans Peter Minderhoud, from the Netherlands, had to settle for third on the 10-year-old stallion Glock’s Dream Boy NOP, after a couple of expensive mistakes kept their score at 77.99%.

Hans Peter was disappointed with his performance overall — he reported that the Vivaldi son warmed up very well, but felt a little behind him once in the arena.

Britain’s Hayley Watson-Greaves and Rubins Nite produced another super performance, this time with their new, incredibly difficult freestyle routine, which earned them 77.7% for fourth, even with a blip in the one-time changes.

Richard Davison filled fifth once again, posting 75.68% with Bubblingh, while Lara Butler and a very fresh Rubin Al Asad took sixth on 74.17%.

Don’t miss the full report from Olympia, in the 28 December issue of H&H.

What did you think of the dressage at Olympia this year? Write to hhletters@ti-media.com for a chance to see your views in H&H magazine and win a bottle of Champagne Taittinger (please include your name and address; letters may be edited).