Baker makes winning debut with new ride in Waregem
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British para star Natasha Baker has returned from a highly successful trip to Waregem CPEDI3* (22 – 22 April 2018) where she won both the Grade III Team and Individual Tests as well as claiming a close second in the Freestyle.
Fresh from a spell in Paris commentating on the FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final for FEI TV, Natasha made the trip to Belgium with her new ride, the gorgeous nine-year-old chestnut mare Mount St John Diva Dannebrog (Don Schufro x Brentano II) owned by Emma Blundell. The newly formed dream team achieved a sensational 73.55% in Friday’s Team Test to win by a clear margin, followed by 71.05% for victory in the Individual and 74.43% for second in the Freestyle dancing to their emotive Tom Hunt-composed soundtrack.
Natasha, who’s trained with Grand Prix rider Lisa Hopkins since 2013, found Diva following a 10 month search after the tragic loss of her Paralympic horse Cabral at the beginning of last year. The 28-year-old has recently enjoyed several high profile media appearances including Crufts dog show for Channel 4 and the BBC’s A Question of Sport, but she was clearly thrilled to be back out competing and flying the flag for Great Britain.
“Wow! What a day! I couldn't be more proud of Diva at her first international party!” said Natasha on Facebook after day one. “Top of the podium with 73.5% at our first international and fourth ever time inside the white boards! It’s so good to be back out on the international scene, I've missed it so much and I am so grateful to Diva and Mount St John for such an incredible opportunity. Lots to improve on but what a starting place! Couldn't have done it without Lisa Hopkins Dressage, Ma & Pa Baker, Marc [Natasha’s boyfriend] and all the girls at home. I'm definitely higher than cloud nine right now!”
Amanda Shirtcliffe (37) and Jon McFarland’s New Princess, an 11-year-old by Newman, showed promising results in the Grade II divisions improving from ninth in the Team to sixth in the Freestyle with 70.43%. Whilst Grade IV rider Nicola Naylor (57) and her black eight-year-old gelding Ferrari (Wynton x Contango) leapt from ninth in both the Team and Individual to an exciting Freestyle fourth.
Grade IV Team Test
1st Manon Claeys with San Dior, 69.475% (BEL)
9th Nicola Naylor with Ferrari, 64.425% (GBR)
Grade IV Individual Test
1st José Letartre with Swing Royal *ENE-HN, 72.585% (FRA)
9th Nicola Naylor with Ferrari, 64.829% (GBR)
Grade IV Freestyle
1st José Letartre with Swing Royal *ENE-HN, 72.225% (FRA)
4th Nicola Naylor with Ferrari, 68.450% (GBR)
Grade III Team Test
1st Natasha Baker with Mount St John Diva Donnebrog, 73.559% (GBR)
9th Amanda Shirtcliffe with New Princess, 66.176% (GBR)
Grade III Individual Test
1st Natasha Baker with Mount St John Diva Dannebrog, 71.059% (GBR)
5th Amanda Shirtcliffe with New Princess, 67.735% (GBR)
Grade III Freestyle
1st Angelika Trabert with Diamond’s Shine, 74.634% (GER)
2nd Natasha Baker with Mount St John Diva Dannebrog, 74.434% (GBR)
6th Amanda Shirtcliffe with New Princess, 70.434% (GBR)