The heartbreak of 2014 was laid to rest for a stunned Sophie Wells after becoming para-dressage world champion in Tryon.

Wells took Grade V top spot after a brilliant FEI World Equestrian Games display with Charlotte Hogg’s C Fatal Attraction, rewarded with a score of 75.429% to secure Great Britain’s first gold medal of the event.

But, after being drawn to compete first in the final class of the day, the Rio 2016 Paralympic champion endured a tough wait to find out her fate, desperate to better the silver medal she won four years ago.

“I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet to be honest,” said Wells, who took gold with the 11-year-old Fidertanz gelding at the Gothenburg Europeans in 2017, but has not had an individual world title since 2010.

“Sitting there and watching [the final riders] was awful, but it’s amazing I’m so chuffed.

“I missed out on gold in Normandy in 2014, and it feels like a long time to get a chance to try again. I’m just so proud of Jorge — it’s been a long journey and this means such a lot. He came out today and he wanted to work and wanted to do it.”

Sophie Wells MBE won para-dressage gold at the FEI World Equestrian Games

'Even more in the tank'

It was a shaky opening to the event as Wells and Jorge cantered out of their first halt instead of trotting.

But despite the faltering start, the pair excelled thereon to end the routine on a high, leaving the 28-year-old hopeful for the rest of the week.

“I think he was a little bit nervous and it would have been helpful not to have a blip,” Wells added.

“It does bring you back down to Earth. But as we went along it got better and better.

“I think there’s even more in the tank for later in the week. We’re going to build on from today; we’ve had a really great first week and I’m just excited to get back in there for my team test and freestyle on Saturday.”

Frank Hosmar of the Netherlands, scored 73.17% to claim the silver medal with Alphaville NOP, while Germany’s Regine Mispelkamp took bronze on Look At Me Now in her first season of para dressage with a score of 71.452%.

Picture credit: © Jon Stroud Media / BEF

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