Carl Hester topped a great week for British dressage riders overseas when taking the grand prix at Saumur, France, with his exciting young horse Uthopia.

On his first outing for over a year nine-year-old Uthopia scored 74.59%, a personal best for Carl.

Carl said: “To blast on to the scene with such a score is pretty special. Uthopia is still so inexperienced but he sends a shiver down my spine — just fantastic.”

Second place went to Carl’s pupil Charlotte Dujardin, a novice at this level, aboard the talented Valegro. But the tables were turned in the grand prix special, when Charlotte and Valegro beat Carl by just 0.08%.

“I felt I should have won the special,” said Carl, “but as Valegro is mine, I’ll let him have that one. Charlotte is coming on in leaps and bounds and is ready for the next challenge.”

Amy Stovold and Henriette Andersen were also in good form, while World Equestrian Games silver medallist Fiona Bigwood and Wie Atlantico finished second in the grand prix freestyle.

And over in Germany, H&H columnist Richard Davison finished tenth in the world cup final aboard Hiscox Artemis after riding to Robbie Williams music in the freestyle.

Full reports in H&H: World Cup final this Thursday (5 May); Saumur next Thursday (12 May).