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Carl Hester has continued the run of British dressage riders’ form abroad with a win in the CDI5* grand prix at Al Shaqab, Qatar (not pictured) today (Friday 6 March). He was riding his own and Jane de la Mare’s 11-year-old Don Ruto x Animo gelding, Nip Tuck.

Carl picked up the €10,000 first place prize-money, but was closely chased by Sweden’s Patrik Kittel. Carl scored 72.6%, with Patrik on 72.46%.

“It all went to plan,” said Carl. “Barney is a very spooky horse and you could see I was trying to stop him looking at the flowers out there. I don’t know what’s so interesting about flowers, but he finds them fascinating.”

The horse is notoriously spooky but managed to hold his nerve in the massive arena.

“Considering, he coped really well,” added Carl. “He hasn’t done many shows like this, so this is a big feeling for him.”

He went on to praise the show, adding: “The footing, the light and the way the horses — and riders — are looked after here is absolutely superb.”

This was the pair’s second international grand prix win; they headed the leaderboard at the Caen test event ahead of the World Equestrian Games last year.

In Doha, Carl and Nip Tuck’s scores varied from 70.4% (from the Danish judge Leif Törnblad at C) to 74% from the German judge at H, Dietrich Plewa.

This was only the horse’s seventh international show — and only the fourth outside the UK.

The pair have qualified for tomorrow’s (Saturday 7 March) freestyle to music.

The other British combination in the class, Henriette Andersen and Warlock’s Charm, a 12-year-old Jazz x Farrington gelding, didn’t have such a charmed ride and finished out of the placings with 65.22%.

Ireland’s sole representative, Judy Reynolds, finished seventh (winning €1,600 in the process) on her 13-year-old Jazz x Ferro gelding, Vancouver K. They scored 69.38%, with two judges awarding over 70%.

For full results, click here: http://www.chialshaqab.com/competitions/competitions-and-results