Britain’s best head for the Mercedes-Benz National Dressage Championships at Stoneleigh 21-23 September

This year’s competition for the prestigious title of national dressage champion will not be a foregone conclusion, with several combinations eager and able to take the 2001 crown.

And last year’s champions, Peter Storr and Gambrinus, will be keen to defend their title, but will have to beat off strong opposition.

Emile Faurie, who last won the title in 1994, will be riding Reuters Rascher Hopes. They were strong team members at last year’s Sydney Olympics and the European Championships at Verden this year.

European team reserves Nicky Barrett and Giorgio S have shown successful form recently, while Laura Richardson, who will be the youngest contender for the title, has a possibility of winning her first championship with the impressive German-bred stallion Millenium.

CarlHester, national champion from 1997 to 1999, is back with two chances in the intermediaire II with his previous small tour champion Donnersong, as well as Morocco.

As usual, small tour classes will be among the biggest, with up to 50 combinations eligible for the prix st georges title.

The intermediaire I will be particularly strongly-contested as the winner will take home a Passier saddle.

Carl has already declared his intentions to become small tour champions with Nereide Goodman’s consistent performer Wellington Laska. He is wishing for a second holiday in Antigua, courtesy of Blue Waters Hotel, sponsor of Saturday night’s intermediaire I kr, in which he has the ride on Toblerone.

Former team member Ferdi Eilberg looks to have a good chance of being the one to pack his suitcase, though, if all goes well for Broadstone Warianka.

Carl has a second attempt in the prix st georges with his other ride Donner Rhapsody, the full-sister to Donnersong. Scottish contender Denise Shawns (Leander) showed strong form at the Wellington Premier League and Henriette Andersen gained a convincing wild card entry with the capable Mannini.

Commentary will be broadcast on FM radio and headsets will be available to buy at the show ground. There will be several displays and quadrilles and all visitors to the championships have the opportunity to take home a Frank Baines saddle by entering a free draw, courtesy of Mercedes-Benz.

For the chance to win tickets to the championships click here.

To read the timetable click here

For full preview, see Horse & Hound issue dated 13 September.

Venue: NAC, Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire.

Tickets: Book online at www.bdwp.co.uk/ndr ; telephone bookings and enquires (tel: 01858 525336).

Cost: Season entry £22/adult, £5/child; season grandstand £32.Advanced tickets: Friday £7.50; Saturday £8; Sunday £8; entry tickets on gate: £10/adult, £3/child per day.