Will Valegro and Totilas Go Head to Head

In Grand Prix Dressage just who is the best, Matthias Rath and Totilas or Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro -  this mouthwatering contest could well be about to happen at this year's FEI European Dressage Championships in Aachen. 

Totilas has been named as part of the German squad ahead of this year's championships, following his win in the Grand Prix 4* at Hagen in Germany last weekend. If Valegro is selected for Great Britain - which is almost a guarantee - we will get to see the pair go head to head for the first time at a major championships since 2011.

Totilas made his international Grand Prix debut in 2009 under former rider Edward Gal, and went on to systematically break all the dressage records, winning team and individual gold at both the 2010 World Equestrian Games and the 2011 European Championships.

However, the stallion was then sold to Germany and Matthias Rath took over the ride. Since then, the pair have made infrequent competitive appearances, and missed the 2012 Olympics, the 2013 Europeans and last summer's World Equestrian Games. 

In this time Charlotte and Valegro have dominated this dressage element and have sucessfully broken all of Totilas' records along the way.

The horses have met before at the Europeans in 2011, when Valegro was very new to Grand Prix, and the established partnership of Gal and Totilas won easily. 

The two horses last met at CHIO Aachen in July 2014, when Charlotte and Valegro made a few uncharacteristic mistakes and finished fifth, some 5% behind Rath and Totilas.

Even without Totilas, Germany cruised to team gold last summer in France, and on current form they must be favourites to do so again in Aachen. 

The other German squad members are Kristina Bröring-Sprehe (Desperados FRH), Isabell Werth (Don Johnson FRH) and Jessica von Bredow-Werndl (Unee BB) - all of whom are more than capable of scoring 80%-plus. 

Britain won the silver medal at last year's WEG, behind the formidable German team. Charlotte and her mentor, Carl Hester, are very likely to get the call up for next month's Europeans, but the other two spaces are harder to predict.

Their Normandy team mates were Michael Eilberg, whose mare Half Moon Delphi has since been sold, and Gareth Hughes, whose ride Nadonna has retired from top level dressage. 

A number of up and coming combinations could well get the call up for the championships, so it will be very interesting to see if the British team can topple the mighty German side this time. 

 

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