Dujardin sets new British record
July 8, 2012 16:20 pm
British dressage star Charlotte Dujardin has achieved another landmark feat just three weeks before London 2012.
Barely two months after breaking the grand prix special world record with her Olympics horse Valegro, she became the first British rider to break the 90 per cent barrier for a freestyle routine in international competition.
Dujardin, who is based with British Olympic team-mate Carl Hester in Newent, thrilled a capacity crowd at the Hartpury International Festival of Dressage in Gloucestershire.
Giving her Olympic freestyle to music routine, composed especially for her by Tom Hunt, a run before the Games, she was awarded 90.65 per cent.
It smashed the previous British record held by Laura Bechtolsheimer, the third member of Britain's London team, and confirmed 25-year-old Dujardin as a major gold medal contender in team and individual disciplines.
She won the class by a staggering margin of almost 15 per cent, with Canadian Ashley Holzer second on Breaking Dawn and Michael Eilberg third aboard Half Moon Delphi on the horse's freestyle debut.
Valegro's test included pirouettes to the chimes of Big Ben and piaffe to The Great Escape theme tune, and it captivated the judges, with four of the five-strong panel awarding artistic marks of more than 93 per cent.
One of the judges, Britain's Andrew Gardner, said: "It was breathtaking. For a judge to be able to award a 10 for such a range of movements from piaffe to extended trot endorses the calibre of the talent that we had in front of us. It was an absolute privilege to give so many 10s."
And Hester, Dujardin's mentor, added: "They nailed it. All the practice at home has paid off, and I feel we have a true Olympic-calibre freestyle that the whole nation can be proud of.
"Tom has done an amazing job with the music, and Charlotte and I just love it. There is a little bit more tweaking to be done, but roll on Greenwich - we will be ready."
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