Queen Charlotte Dujardin keeps reigning
To the strains of a newly-created musical score she steered Valegro, the horse that has taken her to the very top and beyond over the course of the last two spectacular years, to a mark of 92.179 that left her well ahead of defending champions Helen Langehanenberg and Damon Hill NRW from Germany in second place. The Netherlands’ Edward Gal and Glock’s Undercover revealed more of their increasing potential when slotting into third ahead of Sweden’s Tinne Vilhemson-Silfven and the elegant Don Auriello in fourth.
But it was Dujardin and Valegro who owned the stage and clinched the trophy after receiving a standing ovation from the crowd. « I’m over the moon, coming here to my very first World Cup Final. It’s so fantastic! This was my first time with my new Freestyle and it was so much fun, this music is great and it was so emotional. It’s all you can ask for...a dream come true really! » she said.
Edward Gal and Glock’s Undercover maximised their points potential with strong and consistent piaffe although, as the 2010 champion admitted afterwards, a bit of a muddle towards the end saw him lose a rein which hampered his final sequence. « He (Undercover) was still a little too excited, it was difficult warming up in this environment, he was too over-active and in end (of his test) I lost my rein! » the Dutchman said.
His score of 83.696 was immediately overtaken by the penultimate partnership of Helen Langehanenberg and Damon Hill NRW, but the defending champions temporarily lost communication at the beginning of their test and their eventual score of 87.339 fell short of expectations. Langehanenberg remained stoic however. « I had two mistakes today, and two is too many. In between I had a great feeling but I took risks and when you take a risk then anything can happen. On the centreline we didn’t start together, but that’s the way it goes. But I’m absolutely happy! » the 2013 champion insisted.
That left the door wide open for Dujardin and Valegro whose presence alone sets hearts beating a little faster. There was enormous curiosity about their new musical score, put together by Tom Hunt using the soundtrack from the Dreamworks animated film « How to train your dragon ». And it proved delightful, with Valegro demonstrating all his hallmark grace, balance, strength, obedience and lightness along with no small measure of personal charm as he cruised through passage and canterwork that was joy to watch before finishing with a daring final piaffe/pirouette. The crowd loved it, and roared their approval at the end, while the Ground Jury responded with the winning mark that left the British duo almost five marks ahead of last year’s winners. « I had only ridden the test twice at home so I wasn’t as confident as I would be with my other music but I definitely think this is better than my old music. We were just messing around at home when I came up with the idea of the piaffe/pirouette at the end which is technically difficult but, being the super-star he is, Valegro can do it! » said Dujardin afterwards.
1. Charlotte Dujardin (GBR) - Valegro (92,179%)
2. Helen Langehanenberg (GER) - Damon Hill NRW (87,339%)
3. Edward Gal (NED) - Glock's Undercover (83,696%)
4. Tinne Vilhelmson Silfven (SWE) - Don Auriello (80,946%)
5. Isabell Werth (GER) - El Santo NRW (79,089%)
6. Danielle Heijkoop (NED) - Kingsley Siro (77,946%)
7. Jessica von Bredow-Werndl (GER) - Unee BB (77,768%)
8. Hans-Peter Minderhoud (NED) - Glock's Johnson TN (77,768%)
9. Marc Boblet (FRA) - Noble Dream Concept Sol (74,875%)
10. Inessa Merkulova (RUS) - Mister X (73,786%)