Charlotte Dujardin & Valegro Set Freestyle World Record of 93.975% to Hold All Three Grand Prix High Marks

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Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro after setting Grand Prix Freestyle world record at London Olympia. © 2013 Kit Houghton/Horsepower
Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro after setting Grand Prix Freestyle world record at London Olympia. © 2013 Kit Houghton/Horsepower

LONDON, Dec. 17, 2013–Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro on Tuesday set a new world record of 93.975 per cent for the Grand Prix Freestyle and now hold all three Grand Prix world records.

The world’s No. 1 combination and double Olympic gold medalist partnership for Great Britain set the new mark of 93.975 per cent for the Freestyle to the same British patriotic themed music the pair rode to at the London Games. The pair aleady held the records of 85.942 per cent for the Grand Prix and 88.022 per cent for the Grand Prix Special.

Tuesday night’s Freestyle before a crowd of 8,000 spectators at the iconic London Christmas show broke the previous record of 92.300 per cent set by Edward Gal and Totilas at this same show on Dec. 16, 2009, exactly four years and one day ago.

Of the new record, Edward said: “Valegro is an amazing horse and Charlotte is a very good rider, I like them both. I always knew that some day it will happen.”

The previous personal best for the British combination was 91.250 per cent at the European Championships in Herning, Denmark Aug. 24, 2013. The latest score was the fourth Freestyle the pair had broken the 90 per cent barrier since their first such achievement on July 7, 2012.

The performance by the 28-year-old Charlotte and the KWPN gelding was almost flawless with Isabelle Judet of France, one of the five judges, awarding the pair 99 per cent for artistic on a night when the three top finishers were above 80 per cent and the four highest placed finishes all recorded personal best scores.

Valegro ridden by Charlotte Dujardin showing off hisextended trot. © 2013 Kit Houghton/Horsepower
Valegro ridden by Charlotte Dujardin showing off hisextended trot. © 2013 Kit Houghton/Horsepower

Edward Gal, riding Glock’s Undercover and not the black super stallion Totilas on which he held the Freestyle record before Tuesday night, placed second on 87.425 per cent. The previous best for Edward and the 12-year-old KWPN gelding was 86.075 per cent at Rotterdam in June.

The Dutch star combination of 26-year-old Danielle Heijkoop and Kingsley Siro were third on 80.625 per cent, their first result above 80 per cent. The previous best for the pair trained by the legendary Anky van Grunsven was 78.525 per cent in s’-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands last March.

Edward Gal and Glock's Undercover in the Olympi Grand Prix Freestyle. © 2013 Kit Houghton/Horsepower
Edward Gal and Glock’s Undercover in the Olympi Grand Prix Freestyle. © 2013 Kit Houghton/Horsepower

The night belonged to Charlotte and the record-setting ride that was the 18th straight victory for the 28-year-old rider and Valegro, including individual gold at the European Championships in summer as well as the 2012 historic Olympic gold medals.

“I can’t believe what we’ve just done,” said Charlotte who said she has now finished with the music. “What an amazing horse. He rides his heart out. How lucky am I to ride a horse like this.

“I can’t believe it – I am over the moon and just ecstatic. I really wanted to come here and see if I could break the record to this music and at Olympia. It has been such an incredible journey with Valegro – I have achieved so much more than I ever imagined.

”To think I have that world record, in fact all three now, is fantastic.. and to do it on home ground and in front of the supporters is incredible.”

Each of the five judges individual scores was over the former record – French judge Isabelle Judet awarded an astonishing 96.625% – and the capacity crowd of 8,000, the largest ever on dressage night at Olympia, was on their feet applauding the bold and powerful performance even before the score flashed up on the board.

The last time the pair did not finish first was at West Palm Beach in Florida in January, 2012.

The string of victories for Valegro outpaced that of Edward and Totilas, which twice had runs of 11 straight wins.

Charlotte and Valegro and Edward and Totilas are the only two combinations in history to break the 90 per cent ceiling–the British pair doing it four times and the Dutch duo five times. The next closest, Germany’s Helen Langehanenberg and Damon Hill NRW with 89.775 per cent at Stuttgart last month and the Netherlands’ Adelinde Cornelissen and Jerich Parzival on 89.375 per cent at Lyon, France in November, 2012.

The World Cup event at Olympia in which Charlotte and the 11-year-old KWPN gelding (Negro x Gerschwin) were competing was their third straight–the pair won the Freestyle in 2012.

Danielle Heijkoop and Kingsley Siro placing third with first 80-plus per cent score for the Dutch star. © 2013 Kit Houghton/Horsepower
Danielle Heijkoop and Kingsley Siro placing third with first 80-plus per cent score for the Dutch star. © 2013 Kit Houghton/Horsepower

Almost overlooked in the excitmenet was that Olympia was the midpoint of the World Cup Western European League circuit of eight qualifying competitions for the Final in Lyon, France next April.

The results led to a major rearrangement of the standings.

Sweden’s Tinne Vilhelmsson-Silfvén remains atop the leaderboard with 54 points, and leaves this week to join the Adequan Global Dressage Festival in Florida for the winter.

Hans Peter Minderhoud’s fifth place finish on Glock’s Romanov boosted him into second place with 38 points, Marcela Krinke Susmelj of Switzerland in third on 37, Isabell Werth fourth on 35 and Edward Gal the new No. 5 with 34. Charlotte’s 20 points for first place was her first World Cup result and she is tied for 12th place.

Results:

Olympia Grand Prix Freestyle