The Celebrations Begin! Valegro Center Stage at London World Cup Show

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Valegro being ridden by Charlotte Dujardin in a demonstration orchestrated by Carl Hester at Olympia in London. © 2016 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Valegro being ridden by Charlotte Dujardin in a demonstration orchestrated by Carl Hester at Olympia in London. © 2016 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

LONDON, Dec. 13, 2016–Celebrations to farewell Valegro from competition began in the storied century-old Olympia exhibition hall Tuesday night, a packed house of 7,500 spectators gearing up for what will surely be a tear-filled, goose-bump inducing retirement a day later. By the way, Carl Hester and Nip Tuck won the World Cup Grand Prix.

Charlotte Dujardin put a fit and energetic though slightly overweight Valegro through a humor-laden demonstration with Carl Hester as the ring master and under the watchful eye of Britain’s top judge Stephen Clarke.

A bunch of awards honoring Alan Davies, the KWPN gelding’s groom; a British Horse Society fellowship recognizing the highest professional standing of Carl Hester, and a newly created British Dressage international trophy that went to, guess who? Charlotte and Valegro.

Cold and drizzly weather appeared to have no effect on the crowd that pretty much filled the hall two hours before the show began, entertained by a lineup of performances such as children’s jockey races and a Lusitano horse presentation among others.

Even though this is the fifth show in the lineup of nine Western European League World Cup events to qualify for a start at the final in Omaha Mar. 27-April 2 and traditionally is well attended, a non-competing Valegro stole the limelight.

Carl Hester and Nip Tick riding to victory in the London World Cup Grand Prix. © 2016 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Carl Hester and Nip Tick riding to victory in the London World Cup Grand Prix. © 2016 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Carl and Nip Tuck, the horse he rode on Great Britain’s silver medal team at the summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, scored 77.540 per cent to repeat as winners, a result that brought rousing cheers from the exuberant crowd.

The Dutch riders Hans Peter Minderhoud of the Netherlands, the defending World Cup champion, and Glock’s Flirt scored 76.300 per cent and Edward Gal on Glock’s Voice scored 74.300 per cent for second and third places, respectively.

Carl said he and Charlotte had no regrets retiring Valegro–“It was always a dream to retire him here because of the atmosphere and because of how successful he has been here over the years. It also makes everyone want to see him.

“I don’t know how we’re going to feel tomorrow. Tonight I just felt very happy to see him looking like a million dollars. The biggest comment that we’ve had is, “Why on earth are you retiring a horse looking like that?’ That’s a wonderful way to retire a horse, I think, for exactly those reasons. He is at the top of his game”

Rehearsing the retirement ceremony last week, Carl said, both he and Charlotte were emotional but both agreed retirement was the right thing to do.

“Retiring after an Olympic gold is the highest of all accolades. I know he could have gone on and won another World Cup or Europeans but the Olympics are a special thing–two golds and retire after that.

“Life will be quiet for a year or two, but we’re very happy about that.”

Results:

CDI-W Grand Prix

Judges–E: Frances Verbeek van Rooy NED H: Susanne Baarup DEN C: Katrina Wuest GER M: Andrew Gardner GBR B: Isabelle Judet FRA
RANK HNR COMPETITOR NAT. E H C M B TOTAL

Placed competitors

1. 0009 Nip Tuck Carl Hester GBR 78.200 % 77.100 % 75.700 % 77.600 % 79.100 % 77.540 %
4.050,00 EUR
bay / 12y. / G / KWPN / Don Ruto / Animo / 102UB47 / Mr C Hester, Miss Jane de la Mare (1.) (1.) (1.) (1.) (1.)
2. 0011 Glock’s Flirt Hans Peter Minderhoud NED 76.000 % 75.500 % 75.200 % 76.400 % 78.400 % 76.300 %
3.000,00 EUR
chest / 15y. / S / CH / Florestan I / Gauguin de Lully / 103DD24 / Ing. Gaston Glock (2.) (2.) (2.) (2.) (2.)
3. 0006 Glock’s Voice Edward Gal NED 75.200 % 74.000 % 73.500 % 74.400 % 74.400 % 74.300 %
1.950,00 EUR
black / 14y. / S / KWPN / De Niro / Rohdiamant / NED40937 / Glock Hpc Holding (3.) (3.) (3.) (3.) (3.)
4. 0005 Weekend Fun Emile Faurie GBR 70.000 % 73.200 % 71.600 % 72.300 % 73.200 % 72.060 %
1.500,00 EUR
15y. / G / OLDBG / Welt Hit II / Rubinstein I / 104EZ07 / Hof Kasselmann GmbH & Co Kg (7.) (4.) (5.) (5.) (5.)
5. 0016 Rubins Nite Hayley Watson-Greaves GBR 69.600 % 71.500 % 70.700 % 71.900 % 73.300 % 71.400 %
1.350,00 EUR
black / 12y. / G / BHHS / Rubin-Royal / Limbo / 103RB72 / Hayley Watson – Greaves (8.) (5.) (8.) (6.) (4.)
6. 0007 Thriller Katja Gevers NED 70.900 % 71.100 % 71.700 % 71.800 % 69.700 % 71.040 %
1.200,00 EUR
16y. / G / KWPN / Gribaldi / Amor / 103HL43 / Dhr. R. Gevers (5.) (7.) (4.) (7.) (11.)
7. 0004 Marakov Michael George Eilberg GBR 70.200 % 71.300 % 71.300 % 71.300 % 71.000 % 71.020 %
1.050,00 EUR
bay / 16y. / G / LUSIT / Rufs / Mitjulands / GBR42667 / Mr F Eilberg (6.) (6.) (7.) (8.) (9.)
8. 0001 Warlocks Charm Henriette Andersen GBR 71.500 % 69.400 % 71.400 % 70.500 % 72.000 % 70.960 %
900,00 EUR
chest / 13y. / G / KWPN / Jazz / Farrington / 103LO57 / Henriette Andersen & Jennifer Charl (4.) (9.) (6.) (9.) (7.)

Total: €15,000

Other, non-placed competitors

9. 0012 Vancouver K Judy Reynolds IRL 68.700 % 68.200 % 69.100 % 73.100 % 73.200 % 70.460 %
bay / 14y. / G / KWPN / Jazz / Ferro / IRL40808 / Joe & Kathleen Reynolds (9.) (12.) (10.) (4.) (5.)
10. 0014 Rustique Mai Tofte Olesen DEN 67.700 % 69.800 % 68.500 % 69.400 % 68.900 % 68.860 %
grey / 14y. / G / DWB / Heslegard’s Rubin / Midt-West Ibi-Light / 104EK15 / Birgit Meister, Mai & Henrik Tofte (11.) (8.) (11.) (10.) (12.)
11. 0008 After You Ludovic Henry FRA 68.100 % 67.900 % 69.500 % 67.100 % 70.600 % 68.640 %
bay / 13y. / G / BAVAR / Abanos / Ragazzo / 103EV75 / Henry Giorgia & Ludovic & Alexandre (10.) (13.) (9.) (13.) (10.)
12. 0002 Amorak Stephanie Brieussel FRA 65.300 % 68.700 % 68.500 % 67.700 % 71.300 % 68.300 %
bay / 11y. / G / KWPN / Special D / Inspekteur / 103ZQ10 / Mme Stephanie Brieussel et M. Domin (13.) (11.) (11.) (12.) (8.)
13. 0015 Rosalie B Laura Tomlinson GBR 63.600 % 66.900 % 67.000 % 69.200 % 64.700 % 66.280 %
black / 10y. / M / WESTF / Rubin-Royal / Newcastle / 103VB38 / Dr & Mrs W B Bechtolscheimer (14.) (14.) (13.) (11.) (14.)
14. 0003 Xenofonte d’Atela Miguel Ralao Duarte POR 65.700 % 69.300 % 64.700 % 65.700 % 64.800 % 66.040 %
grey / 13y. / S / LUSIT / Hostil / Cryptogamico / 104PV85 / Ana Paula Lemos Figueiredo (12.) (10.) (14.) (14.) (13.)
15. 0010 Toots Akane Kuroki JPN 58.800 % 59.700 % 59.200 % 58.300 % 60.400 % 59.280 %
16y. / G / KWPN / Jazz / Havidoff / 102UD15 / Akane Kuroki & Kojiro (soma) Kuroki (15.) (15.) (15.) (15.) (15.)