Carl Hester (pictured above, and below in the prize-giving) has added yet another title to his burgeoning collection, winning the grand prix at the Espayo British Dressage national championships on Gemma Appleton’s Fine Time with 72.89%. He has now won 64 national titles in his illustrious career.
“He’s hilarious – now he really feels like the number one,” said Carl, referring to the fact that the 12-year-old Florestan stallion has played second fiddle to his top string of big tour horses this year.
“I had a lovely ride – he was hot and really excited and I felt a huge surge of power on the final centre line and I couldn’t move or breathe. This is only his first season at grand prix and he’s a developing star. His personality has really come out lately. He’s hilarious.”
Carl will ride him in the grand prix freestyle tomorrow to the music he used at the 2011 European Championships for Uthopia.
Laura Tomlinson’s stable jockey Lara Griffith stood second riding the experienced Andretti H (70.72%). She is fast developing into a competent grand prix rider and her score was only 2.6% below Laura’s 2012 grand prix score.
First to go Nikki Crisp held on to third place with her talented mare Pasoa, scoring 70.47%.
The national champion will be decided tomorrow and goes to the combination with the highest combined result over the two grand prix classes.
Peter Storr rocks at inter I
In the afternoon’s Saracen Horse Feeds intermediate I freestyle, Peter Storr (pictured below) was man of the match riding Fabioso. From mid-draw he set an unassailably high bar of 75.45%.
“I love doing the music classes and he went really well,” enthused Peter, who used music from the Greek popstar Yanni.
He has ridden the Flammengold son for three years after taking the reins over from Paul Hayler.
Despite his win, the supreme rug went to the sweetheart of the winters, Zoe Sleigh. Her second places in both the inter I and the freestyle at the level gave her the edge riding her Furst Piccolo gelding Fantastic Light.
Don’t miss the full report in this Thursday’s Horse & Hound magazine.