Carl Hester won his 50th national title today when he took the grand prix on Donald McTaggart’s Liebling ll and then the intermediaire I freestyle on Sasha Stewart’s breeding stallion Uthopia. Carl has won a title every day since Thursday, starting with the prix st georges, then yesterday’s intermediaire I, both on Uthopia.
There was some drama before their freestyle when Carl and his groom Catherine Owens discovered that neither of them had remembered to bring his music — each thinking the other had taken it from the drawer where it is usually kept.
“Yes, we had a bit of a squabble about that,” admitted a relieved Carl after he had won the class anyway.
There was a mad dash and a mid-motorway handover for an alternative tape.
“Uthopia’s such a little treasure, he didn’t make a mistake,” added Carl of the eight-year-old Metall stallion who won the class on 76.1%.
In the grand prix Liebling ll scored 71.36%, beating last year’s National champions Maria Eilberg and Two Sox into second place. Third place went to crowd favourites Steph Croxford and Mr President, who scored 67.40%. Tomorrow’s freestyle should be interesting, but Maria will have her work cut out to defend her title.
In the advanced medium, last year’s winner Michael Eilberg retained his title — this time on the Woodlander Stud and his father Ferdi’s lovely seven-year-old mare by Dimaggio, Dornroschen. He beat the previously uncatchable Valegro and Charlotte Dujardin, then came third himself on Torino while Charlotte finished fourth on Donald McTaggart’s six-year-old German bred mare Duchess lV.
Charlotte Andrews and Julie Hugo’s Welcome O won the prelim championship — they were the only pair to score over 70%.

For full report and pictures from the championships, don’t miss Horse & Hound out 24 September