World Equestrian Games: Charlotte Dujardin helps GB's dressage team win silver
Last Updated: 26/08/14 6:01pm
Olympic champion and world No 1 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 Gloucestershire-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.
The pair 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, 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 will now be a firm favourite to add double world gold to her enviable medal collection, with the grand prix special and Friday's musical freestyle titles well within her grasp.
The 29-year-old 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 into a medal position.
"He (Valegro) did his best, and I am so lucky as he has just felt fantastic all week. He did try to stop on the centre line, but apart from that I was really, really happy.
"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."
Eilberg's score of 71.888 per cent aboard Half Moon Delphi meant Dujardin had it all to do, and Eilberg did not mask his disappointment, admitting: "Obviously, quite a few mistakes crept in.
"We've had some really good recent form, so the test today was a little bit below par. I am a bit gutted because I wanted to get a good score for the team, but that's the way it goes.
"She warmed up really well, and even around the outside of the arena she felt really good, but on the first diagonal she was just a bit 'looky' at the camera and it made her hide just a bit."