Dujardin spurs Great Britain to team dressage Olympic qualification
14 September 2018 / 08:06
Charlotte Dujardin expects Great British eventing to go from strength to strength after gaining team dressage qualification for Tokyo 2020 at the World Equestrian Games.
The British quartet, made up of Charlotte Dujardin, Emile Faurie, Carl Hester and Spencer Wilton, scooped team bronze in the Dressage Grand Prix in Tryon, North Carolina, USA.
Riding her nine-year-old mare, Mount St John Freestyle, the three-time Olympic dressage champion produced a stunning test score of 77.764% to ensure Team Equestrian GBR gained a spot in Tokyo.
“What an amazing horse to come here and do that!” said Dujardin. “To cope with the environment and produce a test like that, I’m over the moon with her.
“There’s a lot of expectation on her and I’m so proud that she didn’t bother with anything; she’s so exciting for the future.
“There were a couple of mistakes but easy to fix and I couldn’t really have asked for more from her, she’s a real trier.”
Teammates Spencer Wilton and Emile Faurie put the British team in a promising position after scoring 72.795 and 74.581 respectively.
And records tumbled when Olympic veteran Carl Hester romped to a Grand Prix personal best score of 77.283 per cent to help Great Britain finish third behind winners Germany and runners-up USA with a score of 229.628.
The 2012 Olympic team dressage champion, riding ten-year-old gelding Hawtins Delicato, said even he was surprised by the record-breaking score.
“I knew I’d have to have the ride of my life today and I did,” the Rio 2016 silver medallist said.
“I had 77 per cent in my mind as my target, not that I told anyone that, so I couldn’t be more pleased but I’m surprised!
“Earlier in the week I didn’t think he’d cope but I rode him early this morning in the arena in walk and he felt relaxed, so I thought I might have a good ride. He absolutely put his heart into that test.”
Keen not to downplay her team’s achievements, Chef d’Equipe Caroline Griffith issued a warning to their opponents ahead of the Olympic Games in two years’ time.
She said: “This performance is truly exciting for the future. These young horses and the way our riders have produced them is just incredible.
“I’m proud of them; it was a great atmosphere today which gave them all great confidence.
“To come here and secure our Tokyo qualification and come away with a medal just shows the quality of horses and riders we have. Watch out world!”
All four riders will feature in Friday’s Grand Prix Special, the first competition where individual medals are awarded, after the quartet finished in the top 30.