Dujardin aims to repeat gold feat

09 August 2012 / 07:55

Charlotte Dujardin will be on the trail of double Olympic gold at Greenwich Park on Thursday as British equestrian's successful London 2012 campaign targets a rip-roaring finish.

To the strains of Land of Hope and Glory and Big Ben's chimes, 27-year-old Dujardin will conclude the dressage individual freestyle to music competition.

She set a British record with her patriotic routine when she gave it a trial run at Hartpury in Gloucestershire last month, and she starts on Thursday as gold medal favourite.

Her biggest challengers could be team gold medal-winning British colleagues Carl Hester and Laura Bechtolsheimer, although Dutch star Adelinde Cornelissen and Germany's Helen Langehanenberg are waiting to pounce.

One home medal on Friday would make it the most successful Games in Olympic history for Britain's equestrian team.

And the dressage finale will follow an agonising individual contest for Britain's showjumpers. Eight years after he dropped out of the gold medal position in Athens, Nick Skelton's hopes of individual gold this time around were sunk in Greenwich at a fence called Cutty Sark.

It was the first error over six rounds of team and individual jumping at London 2012 for 54-year-old Skelton and his brilliant stallion Big Star.

But it was magnified by its painful significance as Skelton slipped from a potential gold medal jump-off with the now newly crowned Olympic champion Steve Guerdat, to finish equal fifth alongside his British colleague Scott Brash.

Holland's Gerco Schroder and the aptly-named London took silver after a jump-off against Cian O'Connor and Blue Loyd 12, who landed Ireland's first medal of the Games.

Skelton already had a team gold medal in the bag from three days ago, but individual Olympic glory eluded him again.

"In the cold light of day we will realise what we've done. To win a team gold is still a wonderful achievement," Britain's team manager Rob Hoekstra said.