Carl Hester made a good start during the first two days of the Premier League meeting at Hickstead by scooping the Intermediaire I and both sections of the Prix St Georges classes with Wellington Laska and Donner Rhapsody.

Describing his Prix St George win with Nereide Goodman’s trusty campaigner Wellington Laska as a “bloody miracle”, Carl said he felt this was the combination’s best test to date.

Carl has had the ride on the 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood for this season and describes him as “the kindest horse in the world”.

“The test felt mistake-free and consistent,” said Carl, “He might be a bit limited in the back end, but he tries his heart out and has ended up surprising us all”.

Wellington Laska is likely to be sold as a schoolmaster at the end of the season.

In only their third prix st georges competition together to date, Carl rode a flowing test on the eight-year-old mare Donner Rhapsody, who is a full sister to his grand prix partner Donnersong.

Winner of the advanced medium national title two years ago, Carl rode an easy, mistake-free test to clock up a good score of 70%, ahead of David Hunt and Art Gallery on 68%.

“Rhapsody is fabulous to ride,” said Carl. “She has three good paces and is very correct and good behind. But as a typical mare, you have to ride her tactfully.”

Friday’s grand prix test was an opportunity to see the British European team members final workout before they leavefor the championships in Verden next month.

Two team members – Richard Davison (Askari) and Laura Richardson (Millenium) elected to go HC, which meant that their scored did not count in the placings.Nicky Barrett and her elegant 16.1hh gelding Giorgio S performed a settled, accurate test to win the class with a score of 67.47%, ahead of Peter Storr and Gambrinus, who made a costly mistake in the extended trot to finish in second place on 67.27. Another European team member, Kirsty Mepham and Dikkiloo were just behind on 66.53%.

For full report and pictures, see Horse & Hound (issue dated Thursday 2 August )