EQUESTRIAN: Inspired Dujardin steers GB to a silver at World Games

GB silver medallists from left, Carl Hester, Michael Eilberg, Charlotte Dujardin and Gareth Hughes. AP Photo/Michel Euler

GB silver medallists from left, Carl Hester, Michael Eilberg, Charlotte Dujardin and Gareth Hughes. AP Photo/Michel Euler

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OLYMPIC champion and world number one Charlotte Dujardin produced an inspired performance to secure a silver medal for Great Britain's dressage team at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy.

The Newent-based rider had it all to do aboard the brilliant Valegro, knowing that a minimum score of 83.333 per cent was required to overhaul Holland and secure second place behind runaway champions Germany.

But Dujardin, who won double gold at London 2012 and in last year's European Championships, once again delivered when it really mattered.

They blew the opposition away, posting 85.271 per cent to finish top of the standings heading into Wednesday's grand prix special, and ensuring she clinched another major medal alongside team-mates Carl Hester, also from Newent, Michael Eilberg and Gareth Hughes.

Dujardin finished almost four per cent clear of leading German Isabell Werth, but the consistency of Werth, Helen Langehanenberg and Kristina Sprehe ensured a team total of 241.700, with Britain finishing on 231.343 and Holland 227.400.

Dujardin, 29, had finished sixth in last month's Aachen Grand Prix, later describing that result as ‘a huge wake-up call’ but there was no hangover in Caen's Stade D'Ornano as she guided Valegro effortlessly into top gear.

And the result also meant that Britain secured qualification for the 2016 Rio Olympics, being joined by their fellow podium finishers.

"I had such fun," Dujardin said. "I went out there to do my very best and wanted to try to get us (the team) into a medal position.

"He (Valegro) did his best, and I am so lucky as he has just felt fantastic all week.

"To go out there and get the welcome I got was fantastic. It's such a great feeling to have that many people behind you."

Reflecting on the Aachen result, Dujardin added: "After Aachen, it was really good for me because it made me come here fighting.

"I went in there today and rode for everything.

"In Aachen, I really struggled with the heat and we wanted him (Valegro) to peak here at the World Games. I wanted to nail it."

Britain's para-equestrian dressage riders, meanwhile, are firmly on course to land another major team title after three quality displays on day two in Caen.

Lee Pearson's victory in the Grade Ib team test on Monday was followed by two more wins as Natasha Baker and Sophie Wells both triumphed and Sophie Christiansen finished third to give Britain a commanding lead ahead of counting individual tests on Wednesday and Thursday.

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