Charlotte Dujardin and Uthopia have won the CDI3* Dressage Grand Prix at the Thursday night performance at the Royal Windsor Horse Show.
Scoring 76.96%, Dujardin and Uthopia were the clear winners, according to Ground Jury President Lief Tornblad. “Aside from a slight mistake in one of the two-time changes they were faultless and produced a very secure test with highlights of passage and extended trot,” he said.
In second place was Michael Eilberg and Half Moon Delphi with 72.9%, and Carl Hester was third on his new ride Nip Tuck, scoring 71.6%.
Dujarding, who is World Number One, was especially delighted with Dutch-bred Uthopia. “After our ride at Saumur I was rather disappointed as he was really tricky there but today he let me help him in the ring,” she said.
“I am trying to establish the same bond I have with Valegro – but he is completely different in his mind. It is also a great opportunity to learn to produce a Grand Prix on a horse that isn’t as easy as Valegro – they are not all as easy as him.”
Thirteen combinations contested the FEI Grand Prix which was part of the evening performance at the show that has an impressive backdrop of Windsor Castle. All will compete in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle.
Michael Eilberg and Half Moon Delphi produced flowing half passes, impressive passage and one-time changes but small mistakes meant a loss of higher marks. “For one reason or another we haven’t done a lot and we just need to get back in the ring a bit more,” said Eilberg who is hoping to take the daughter of Dimaggio to Aachen. “There were a few silly glitches – she spooked at a shadow and can get a bit twitchy at things like that but the passage was good and the one time changes have really come on.”
Tornblad agreed with the assessment, saying: “Delphi is an elastic horse with a wonderful passage and although today they produced a few expensive mistakes, she is a really capable mare.”
Hester’s new Grand Prix ride, ten-year-old Nip and Tuck, was “a positive surprise and produced a very secure test in a good rhythm with no irregularities. While he could have more power he will have eventually for sure,” Tornblad said.
The imposing Dutch-bred gelding by Don Ruto, who stands at 18hh, is owned by Hester and Jane De la Mare and made his Grand Prix debut two months ago, although he been trained to the level since a four-year-old. He produced assured ground covering half passes although modest extensions but the 71+% score was enough to ensure he is now also qualified for consideration for the World Equestrian Games later in the year and is the fourth horse that Hester has qualified for the WEG.
“I am pretty chuffed with his progress,” said Hester, who was under the weather and suffering from a flu-like virus. “He used to get very hot but today produced a relaxed mistake free test which is what I wanted at this stage.”
Aintree came to Berkshire - albeit on a miniature scale – as the Shetland Pony Grand National took place at Royal Windsor Horse Show. A sea of colour graced spectators at the show as the junior jockeys aged between nine and 14 raced around the specially prepared course in what is one of the most eagerly anticipated events of the week.
While the obstacles they had to negotiate may not have been as high as those at Aintree, when you’re on a horse less than half the size of a thoroughbred travelling at full speed, they look just as frightening. The race was huge fun to watch and compete in and as ever, raised charitable funds for the Great Ormond Street Hospital.
More runnings of the Shetland Grand National will take place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday in the Castle Arena.