Carl Hester and Movistar impressed the judges in the Stellar Wealth Management Prix St Georges Championship on the opening day of the British Dressage national championships at Stoneleigh (18-21 September).

They scored 70.90% in Moviestar’s 5th prix st george (psg) class to win the class ahead of Amy Stovold and Macbrian on 69.5%.

Senior judge from Finland, Maria Colliander, complimented the horse’s expressive trot and good canter. “There were some absolutely lovely moments,” she said. “He has the looks, presence and charm to be an international horse.”

Nicky Barrett and Faberge 50 claimed first place in the NFU Mutual Intermediaire II Championship with 67.51%. Gareth Hughes and Nureyev was just a fraction of a percent behind on 67.46%.

Nicky said: “I had a choice to ride in either the psg championship or the Inter II and, I thought I want him to be a grand prix horse, so why not live dangerously. There was a lot wrong with it but the horse showed some quality and there’s a lot more to come.”

Valegro gave Charlotte Dujardin another star performance and the day’s highest score of 73.14% winning the Biotal Medium Open Championship, with reserve champion Ruth Edge and Shadowfax four percentage points behind.

Charlotte said: “There is always a special atmosphere at the Nationals which gives an edge and he rose to the occasion.” Charlotte’s mother Jane was awarded a prize for the champion groom by sponsor Biotal Equine Gold. Jane added: “He’s a six year old with a 10 year old brain.”

Judge Islay Auty said: “It was a privilege to judge a class of this calibre — the standard gets better every year — and to judge an exceptional horse like Valegro.”

Pony power proved unbeatable in the Stretch and Flex Elementary Restricted Championship with Stena Hoerner, 16, on Macho Ramezes snatching the glory from her 15-year-old rival, Claire Gallimore on Leonties Double. The pair finished on identical marks (65.86%) and had to be separated by their collectives.

Ramezes’ celebratory gallop on his lap of honour turned into a calm walk at the exit, as he showed what a seasoned professional he is at 8. Stena describes him as a Welsh Section D with chopped off legs.

“He can be cheeky at home but as soon as he goes somewhere, he knows his job and he’s very reliable. I am proud to say nothing has been difficult for him. He picks up things very quickly.”

For full results visit www.bdchampionships.co.uk

Stay in touch with all the news from the national dressage championships as it happens on Horseandhound.co.uk, and don’t miss H&H’s full report on the show in next Thursday’s magazine (on sale 25 September, ’08)