Timing of France trip ideal for Yorkshire pair

IN THE MIX: Huddersfield's Oliver Townend has a key role for the Great Britain team. Picture: Tony Johnson.
IN THE MIX: Huddersfield's Oliver Townend has a key role for the Great Britain team. Picture: Tony Johnson.
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YORKSHIRE eventers Nicola Wilson and Oliver Townend are approaching tomorrow’s Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in sparkling form.

The eventing aspect of the Normandy-based competition begins tomorrow, which means a proud moment for Yorkshire, who supply one third of the six-strong Great Britain team.

And Townend and Wilson are in illustrious company alongside Zara Phillips on High Kingdom, the British team completed by William Fox-Pitt on Chilli Morning, Tina Cook on De Novo News and Harry Meade on Wild Lone.

Just days before her world assignment, Wilson excelled last weekend when winning the Scottish Open Championship CIC three-star at Blair on One Two Many.

Townend was last in action at Somerford Park the previous weekend where Cooley Master Class was victorious in his Open Intermediate class.

The eventing competition begins with tomorrow and Friday’s dressage phases ahead of Saturday’s cross-country test and then Sunday’s dressage phase.

The endurance competition also takes place tomorrow with the showjumping and driving events not getting underway until the following Thursday. Vaulting begins on Tuesday.

Yesterday’s action saw Olympic champion and world No 1 Charlotte Dujardin produce an inspired performance to secure a silver medal for Great Britain’s dressage team.

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.

They blew the opposition away, posting 85.271 per cent to finish top of the standings heading into today’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.

“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.

“To go out there and get the welcome I got was really fantastic.

“It’s such a great feeling to have that many people right behind you.”