It was normal service resumed as we returned to the well-known format of Olympia FEI World Cup Freestyle evening after the unfamiliarity of last night’s pilot shortened Grand Prix. It was the same top three, albeit in a revised order after a top flight evening of Freestyle entertainment. Tonight it was the upcoming German name of Frederic Wandres, sporting a stylish bow tie in honour of the occassion, who stole the show with the Dimaggio sired 11 year old Duke of Britain with only the difference in artistic marks separating him from home darlings Charlotte Dujardin with Carl Hester, Lady Anne Evans and Ann Cory’s Hawtins Delicato as they both finished on 80.03%.
The judges panel of Katrina Wuest, Andrew Gardner, Stephen Clarke, Hans-Christian Matthiesen and Maribel Alonso de Quinzanos found it very difficult to separate the two; the three on the short side had Frederic to win while the two at E and B felt Charlotte edged it.
Frederic opted for a far more challenging floorplan with an average difficulty rating of 9.65 which he formulated just for his World Cup campaign to cracking music. Charlotte chose her original 2011 ‘How to train your dragon’ set which was Valegro’s first serious freestyle as it was only ‘Del’s’ second attempt at a Freestyle.
Charlotte was the superior score for technical marks with an average of 85.76% but Frederic edged it on the overall artistic marks as is the decider in the Freestyle to give Germany its first ever Olympia Freestyle title. Both horses are British bred.
Last night’s Grand Prix victor Hans Peter Minderhoud with Glock’s Dream Boy had to settle for third tonight when a busy season showed on the ten year old Vivaldi stallion and he simply ran out of energy. A 77.99% was still a first rate score when last to go.
In fourth was Hayley Watson Greaves who really gave the crowd something to cheer with her extraordinary new floorplan with a 9.7 level of difficulty with Rubins Nite and 77.705%. This score marks a new international personal best for the duo and her points tonight moved her to 17th and best Brit in the FEI Western European World Cup League.
British riders filled the final two top six placings with Richard Davison riding his ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’ floor plan with Gwendolyn Sontheim’s Bubblingh in fifth after a bright, mistake free test for 75.68%, while Lara Butler and Rubin al Asad were sixth for owners the Bechtolsheimers despite a few spooks from ‘Rufus’ who was clearly feeling very well when ‘dancing’ to Dire Straits for 74.17%.
So two great days of dressage at Olympia are sadly over for another year. Well done to the organising team who dared to bring us something new which will now be reviewed and ananlysed to see if there’s merit and for again providing the dressage public with a touch of Christmas magic.
Final results – click here.
Audio interview with Charlotte Dujardin – click here