World Number One Charlotte Dujardin and Uthopia Thrills Windsor Crowd
Saturday, May 17, 2014
The World Number One was especially delighted with the black Dutch-bred stallion Uthopia's victory at the Royal Windsor Horse Show. "After our ride at Saumur I was rather disappointed as he was really tricky there but today he let me help him in the ring," said Charlotte. "I am trying to establish the same bond I have with Valegro - but he is completely different in his mind - although it is also a great opportunity to learn to produce a Grand Prix on a horse that isn't as easy as Valegro - they are not all as easy as him." The British European team combination of Michael Eilberg and Jon and Julie Deverill's Half Moon Delphi were second (72.9%). The lovely grey Dimaggio sired mare produce, flowing half passes, impressive off the floor passage and one time changes but small mistakes meant a loss of higher marks. "For one reason or another we haven't done a lot and we just need to get back in the ring a bit more," said Eilberg who is hoping to take her to Aachen. "There were a few silly glitches - she spooked at a shadow and can get a bit twitchy at things like that but the passage was good and the one time changes have really come on."
Carl Hester was third with his new Grand Prix ride, ten-year-old Nip and Tuck (71.6%). The imposing Dutch-bred gelding by Don Ruto, who stands at 18hh, is owned by Hester and Jane De la Mare and made his Grand Prix debut two months ago, albeit he has been trained to the level since a four-year-old by his rider. He produced assured ground covering half passes although modest extensions but the 71+% score was enough to ensure he is now also qualified for consideration for the World Equestrian Games later in the year and is the fourth horse that Carl has qualified for the WEG.
"I am pretty chuffed with his progress," said Hester who was extremely under the weather and suffering from a flu-like virus. "He used to get very hot but today produced a relaxed mistake free test which is what I wanted at this stage."
Danish judge Lief Tornblad was president of the Ground Jury. He said; "The winner was clear. Aside from a slight mistake in one of the two-time changes they were faultless and produced a very secure test with highlights of passage and extended trot. Delphi is an elastic horse with a wonderful passage and although today they produced a few expensive mistakes, she is a really capable mare. Carl's new horse was a positive surprise and produced a very secure test in a good rhythm with no irregularities. While he could have more power he will have eventually for sure."
Thirteen combinations contested the FEI Grand Prix which was part of the evening performance at the show that has an impressive backdrop of Windsor Castle. All will compete in tomorrow night's FEI Grand Prix Freestyle.
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