Laura Bechtolsheimer & Mistral Hojris Lead British Sweep of Olympia World Cup Freestyle
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
LONDON, Dec. 14–Laura Bechtolsheimer rode Mistral Hojris to lead a British sweep of the Olympia World Cup event Wednesday night with the top three finishing above 83 per cent and separated by about a half percentage point.
Laura and her European Championship gold medal mount scored 83.975 per cent with Rotterdam team mates Charlotte Dujardin and Valgro second on 83.700 per cent and Carl Hester and Uthopia third on 83.450 per cent.
A check of records indicated this was the first major international competition where three combinations from the same nation scored so high. The margin to fourth place, also a Briton, Richard Davison on Hiscox Artemis, was almost eight percent.
Stephen Clarke, a Briton and president of the ground jury as he will be next year at the London Games, described the result “as a dream come true, nationally. They made us work–it was difficult for us to separate them.”
The star for the packed century-old Olympia exhibition center was Laura and “Alf,” as she calls Mistral Hojris, who will be 17 years old when he most likely will represent Great Britain at the Olympics in London, before a home crowd and where the expectations in a nation that has never won an Olympic medal of any kind are sky high.
“Alf is one of those horses who has not grown up,” she said of their performance that was as good as ever. “”He’s still quite terrified of some things. He loves competing, but he hates awards ceremonies.”
Laura said she wanted to show at this Olympia competition that although the two of them did not put in their best tests at Rotterdam, “we’re not finshed.”
For Charlotte Dujardin who won the Grand Prix Tuesday night, coming second was great and she is still shaking her head in disbelief at their results for the year.
She and Valegro who is aged nine performed Grand Prix in January that was a first for them both. Since then, they were a part of the British team that won their first ever gold medal at the European Championships in Rotterdam then achieved another goal with a score above 80 per cent in the Grand Prix in their first appearance at Olympia.
Charlotte said she was happy that Norway’s Cathrine Rasmussen who became the rider of Fernandez after the horse was sold had done well, finishing sixth in the Freestyle. Fernandez was trained and competed by Charlotte before the horse was sold recenty.
Complete results Grand Prix Freestyle results