Matthias Alexander Rath and Totilas made their competitive debut at the CDI Munich, Germany today winning the class with ease.

The pair, who came together after the stallion’s shock sale in October, scored 76.787% — the only combination to break the 70% barrier.

Though the stallion’s performance was not the polished finished product we were accustomed to seeing with Edward Gal, the new combination coped admirably with the massive pressure on them as spectators crowded round the arena 15 deep to get a glimpse.

British dressage rider Richard Davison said: “Matthias was cool and it was a very good performance for the new combination.

“Of course they still have to get to know each other in the arena, and there were a few communication issues which will need ironing out, but the half passes were magical.

“In the warm-up, the horse looked sensational, but the atmosphere just got to them a bit in the arena.”

Totilas tried hard in the piaffe, with his front legs coming so high off the floor that the pace became irregular at times. Matthias rode the changes more conservatively that Edward has done in the past, but as this was their first competitive outing, they can certainly be forgiven.

One thing is for sure — Totilas is once again a force to be reckoned with on the world dressage stage.

The top three spots were all occupied by Germans, but fourth place went to our Britain’s Emma Hindle and her new ride, the 10-year-old Brisbane.

There was a 6% difference in the marks from the five judges; judge at H had her on 65.106% while the judge at M had Emma on 71.170%, and in second behind Totilas.

The gelding, by Bjorsells Briar, is very striking and well established in the grand prix work and has a beautiful collected trot, but travels forward a lot in the piaffe, which may account for the difference in the marks awarded.