Carl Hester and Escapado stamped their authority on the individual Olympic dressage competition this morning by scoring 72.4% in the grand prix special and going through to Wednesday’s kür final in ninth position.

“I am now ready to lay down and die for my horse,” said an ecstatic Carl, who scored the highest mark ever of a British dressage rider at the Olympic Games.

“Peanuts was cool. I practised my halt just before entering the arena and he waved a front paw – not a good sign. But he was fantastic in the test and has taken me into the top 10 in the world today.”

Carl and the team will decide later today which music he will use for the kür individual final. His original choice was a simple programme to “Here comes the sun”, but he may now borrow Richard Davison’s music instead.

Richard Davison rode a clean special on Ballaseyr Royale, who appeared to be slightly lacking in energy, to score 66.16 and finish in 22nd place overall. The mare has been troubled by fly bites around her girth during the past couple of days.

The competition for the individual dressage title has been blown right open after Anky van Grunsven clawed her way back into gold medal contention this morning with a score of 77.8 in the grand prix special.

This gives Anky a combined grand prix and grand prix special average of 76.004 against Ulla Salzgeber’s combined average of 76.524. Beatriz Ferrer-Salat and Beauvalais pushed Ulla down to third place in the special with a score of 75.76.

Individual standings after grand prix and grand prix special

1, Ulla Salzgeber (Rusty) GER 76.524;
2, Anky van Grunsven (Salinero) NED 76.004;
3, Beatriz Ferrer-Salat (Beauvalais) ESP 75.213;
4, Deborah McDonald (Brentina) USA 74.067;
5, Hubertus Schmidt (Wansuela Suerte) GER 72.887;
6, Robert Dover (Kennedy) USA 72.833;
7, Jan Brink (Briar) SWE 72.265;
8, Martin Schaudt (Weltall) GER 72.008;
9, Carl Hester (Escapado) GBR 71.553;
10, Andreas Helgstrand (Cavan) DEN 71.147.