Dujardin wins dressage gold

  • Last Updated: August 27 2014, 19:08 BST

British dressage star Charlotte Dujardin added another individual gold medal to an enviable major championship collection as she saw off her rivals for a second time in 24 hours at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

Charlotte Dujardin and wonderhorse Valegro claim gold
Charlotte Dujardin and wonderhorse Valegro claim gold

Dujardin and wonderhorse Valegro recorded an outstanding grand prix special victory at Stade D'Ornano in Caen after posting a score of 86.120 per cent.

After finishing top of the standings and inspiring Great Britain's team silver medal success on Tuesday, the 29-year-old Gloucestershire rider again came up trumps.

Her first individual world title follows team and individual gold at London 2012, plus two individual European Championship golds in Denmark last summer.

Dujardin and 12-year-old Valegro also hold dressage's three world records - grand prix, grand prix special and freestyle - to underline her continued domination of a sport she has taken by storm during the last three years.

The world number one combination are firmly installed as favourites for Friday's freestyle crown, when a 15-strong field will also include her British team-mates Carl Hester and Michael Eilberg.

Hester, Dujardin's long-time mentor and trainer who co-owns Valegro with Roly Luard, finished 12th in the grand prix special aboard Nip Tuck, while Eilberg and Half Moon Delphi were 13th.

The podium places alongside Dujardian, meanwhile, were completed by Germany's Helen Langehanenberg and Damon Hill NRW in second on 84.468 per cent, while Langehanenberg's German colleague Kristina Sprehe claimed bronze on Desperados FRH, scoring 79.762 per cent.

"It feels fantastic, obviously, to win the gold," Dujardin said. "Yesterday gave me confidence for today.

"When I put my foot down in there it was like a Ferrari - he just felt incredible, probably one of the best rides I've ever had.

"The hardest thing for me was the crowd gasping. It was tough to deal with, but great to have them behind you."

Hester recorded a personal best score with the 10-year-old Nip Tuck in only the horse's second grand prix special competition, and he said: "I was not expecting that.

"I brought him here because of the horses I've got he is the one I trusted the most to go in there in that atmosphere and do it. I didn't know if he would - it was just a feeling I had."

And Eilberg bounced back from a disappointing team test to join Dujardin and Hester in the freestyle final after scoring 75.462 per cent.

"I am absolutely chuffed to bits. It's exactly what I was hoping for," Eilberg said.

"Today, she gave her all. I asked her to dig a bit deeper, and she gave me everything she had.

"After yesterday's mistakes, to go in and ride a mistake-free test was what I was hoping for and what I did. I was really focused. I think it's the best test I have done - certainly the best (grand prix) special."

Dujardin acknowledged there had been a couple of mistakes in her test, but there was no doubting her dominance on another red-letter day for British dressage.

"It didn't quite go to plan," she said. "But I took every risk that I could.

"It felt unbelievable. There was so much power in the trot work, especially.

"I think he (Valegro) has a heart of gold. He never backs off and never goes out there to make mistakes.

"I just want to go out and get a good round on Friday. I am looking forward to riding him again."

Elsewhere on Wednesday, Britain's Lee Pearson - a 10-time Paralympic gold medallist - won the individual Grade Ib para-equestrian dressage world title aboard Zion.

Their score of 77.310 per cent was well clear of Austrian rival Pepo Puch, riding Fine Feeling S, while Pearson's British colleague Ricky Balshaw was seventh on LJT Enggaards Solitaire.

"It's a feeling of elation and relief," Pearson said.

"To be selected and to come here is amazing. It's been great to have the chance to compete against Pepo (Puch) since he beat me in London, and to come and beat him on a different horse (from London 2012) is satisfying."

Pearson's performance strengthened the British grip on team gold, which should be confirmed early on Thursday evening after Sophie Christiansen (Grade Ia), Natasha Baker (II) and Sophie Wells (IV) launch their quest for individual medals.