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Special Grand Prix: Aiming for a spot on the British team

Today’s Special Grand Prix looked almost like a repeat of yesterday’s Grand Prix. Great Britain came out on top again, this time with yesterday’s runner-up and winner switching places: Carl Hester took first today over fellow Brit Gareth Hughes, with the Princess of Denmark Nathalie Zu Sayn-Wittgenstein in third.

Special Grand Prix: Aiming for a spot on the British team
© PSV Photos

With a final score of 73.866%, Nip Tuck certainly had an impressive showing for his first Special Grand Prix appearance, confirming what his rider thinks of him.  “I honestly don't think he could have done better. He’s only ten and 17.1hh, but despite everything, when you're in the saddle, there’s a definite ease to his movements. My goal today was to make as few errors as possible and to make all the movements smooth and light. I’m really happy – that’s exactly what happened. Now I just have to look for more strength. He’s a rather sensitive horse, and today I was looking to keep him calm. He was better and easier to ride than yesterday,” said a beaming Carl Hester.

With his smooth transitions, calm attitude, and no major errors, Nip Tuck reinforced yesterday’s impressions, bringing him one step closer to a spot on the British team. “The horse’s progress is very encouraging. He was a difficult young horse, and I didn’t know how far we could go. I couldn’t be happier. And I think he just might be my horse for the Games if I’m selected. After this test, I’m feeling even more confident than yesterday.”

If the two British stars of these test events make the national team, Caen will have already gotten to know two of the horses. While Carl may still have his doubts about whom he’ll partner with, the choice of mount for Gareth Hughes is clear. “With a score of 73.655%, it’s one of Nadonna’s best performances at a Special Grand Prix. Her trot was very good, and her canter, which was much more difficult here than at the Grand Prix, was also satisfactory. It’s now time to give her a short break of a week or two before the final selections are announced. She’s sixteen and doesn't need to prove herself constantly anymore. I’m crossing my fingers. Maybe these two days in Caen will be enough to convince the selectors.”

For Nathalie Zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, who came in third in this Special with an overall average of 67.745%, one thing is certain: she will not be taking Fabienne if selected. “The mare was a little more worked up today than at the Grand Prix. I think the prize ceremony yesterday was a bit overwhelming. She’s still learning and it was a good experience to do a Special Grand Prix after making the Grand Prix podium. I’ve been with her since the beginning, but this is only her fifth Special Grand Prix. She’s still got a little ways to go. And that means that if I’m selected, it's clear that I won’t go with Fabienne. It would be too early.” This is the end of the test events for the top three, a trio of riders who, sixty days out from the opening ceremony, are already chomping at the bit at the idea of coming back to this fantastic arena. Here’s hoping to see them on 25 August!

RESULTS

  1. Carl Hester (GBR) & Nip Tuck - 73,866%
  2. Gareth Hughes (GBR) & DV Stenkjers Nadonna - 73,655%
  3. Nathalie Zu Sayn-Wittgenstein (DEN) & Fabienne - 67,745%

Full results

Podium -  Grand Prix Sp�al - �euves pr�ratoires - 24 juin 2014

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