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Dujardin's Nationals perfect ten

last updated on September 08, 2017 15:04

Dujardin's Nationals perfect ten

Dressage icon Charlotte Dujardin is in for a busy week as she has a total of ten horses entered for this year’s LeMieux National Dressage Championships, 14– 17 September. A decade on from claiming her first ‘Nationals’ title aboard her now legendary partner Valegro, Charlotte returns to Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire hoping to add a further eight Championship accolades to her impressive CV which also boasts three Olympic gold medals.

She’ll ride a minimum of 17 tests over the four days of competition with others in the pipeline should she qualify for finals. Three of her rides are mares under the ownership of Mount St John Stud while she rides two horses bred by the Hawtins Stud, proving her support for British breeders.

On Thursday she’ll kick off her campaign in the Fairfax Saddles Prix St Georges Gold Championship with three rides, Mount St John Kom Fairytale, Mount St John Freestyle and her own Jazz-sired En Vogue. It’s then the turn Hawtins Delicato, owned by Carl Hester, her trainer and mentor. Carl has this horse earmarked for himself for Tokyo so could this be the final time we’ll see Charlotte in the saddle?

Friday, her trio from the PSG move up a gear to contest the Saracen Horse Feeds Inter I Gold Championship. Charlotte has high hopes for both Freestyle, by Fiedermark, and En Vogue and feels both are contenders to get her back on the British team while the Fürst Heinrich x Weltmeyer Mount St John Kom Fairytale is still quite new to her. They’ve been to just three competitions, done six tests together, won five (one with 83.42%) and never scored sub 73%.

Her younger stars move into the limelight on Saturday in the Shearwater Insurance Young Horse Championships. In the five year old class, Hawtins San Floriana, who Charlotte co-owns with Carl, is her chance. The San Amour x Florestan mare won the four year old title last year with Hawtins Stud’s stable jockey Bryony Goodwin so hopes are high. Mount St John VIP (Vivaldi x Donnerhall) is her first ride in the six year old Championship and the duo won the five year olds last year so have to be among the favourites for the title. She also has Gio (Apache x Tango), who she bought earlier this year when the chestnut caught her eye when teaching a clinic in California.

VIP has a quick change before a second test in the TopSpec Medium Gold Championship where Charlotte also has two further rides. She’ll partner Sarah Tyler-Evans’ Negro-sired mare River Rise Nisa who’s had a rapid rise up the ranks with some fantastic summer form. Her final ride in the class will be her own Gio, or ‘Pumpkin’ as she calls him.

She’ll round off her trip to Stoneleigh with a mere four rides on Sunday. The day starts bright and early with the Equine Construction Advanced Medium Gold and Charlotte has two rides. First up will be her own eye-catching grey Florentina VI (Vivaldi x Rubel) who already has two Nationals titles to her name. Then it’s another Carl Hester horse, Ekitof, who’ll come in front of the judges. The Zucchero eight year old was started by Amy Woodhead and Charlotte has ridden him just once in competition, at Hartpury College Premier League where they won to secure direct qualification.

Unless Charlotte qualifies any of her rides for the Shearwater finale on Sunday, her final tests will be in the Childéric Saddles Elementary Gold where River Rise Nisa and Gio return to action.

Charlotte will of course be joined by a host of other top names competing at the Nationals for the 25 titles on offer alongside plenty of up-and-coming stars and talented amateurs – look out for our full preview next week.

If you haven’t secured your tickets to join the action, don’t worry as they’ll be available on the gate. Entry starts at just £18 for the day for adults and £11 for children while car parking is free. Visit the Championship website for the full lowdown on the four days including the timetable, full entries and details of the amazing shopping village and food outlets.