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Carl Hester is on track to pick up his 49th national title today on Sasha Stewert’s Uthopia, having won yesterday’s intermediaire I with plus-72%. The pair will contest the freestyle this afternoon at 5pm. Carl felt the stallion was more rideable yesterday than in the previous day’s prix st georges and he produced a controlled and expressive test.
Carl’s former working pupil Lucy Cartwright took two titles riding judge Isobel Wessels and Briget Powell’s jumping-bred Chagall, by Contendro — the elementary and novice opens. Lucy recently left Carl’s base and moved into his old yard in Gloucestershire where she is producing young horses.
“Chagall’s 17.1hh and I’m only 5ft2,” said Lucy. “But he’s got such a nice temperament. He’s so lovely and supple to ride and he’s never seen an atmosphere like this but was totally unfazed.”
Mike Jones topped the advanced medium restricted riding his own Two Mills Playboy. Mike, who is also a show jumper, buys and sells from his base on the Wirral, but Playboy is one he won’t sell. The pair train with Peter Storr.
Sophie Christiansen topped the scoreboard in the para national championships with 74.33% at grade Ia on Sarah and Tony Pidgley’s Rivaldo Of Berkeley.
“He didn’t put a foot wrong,” said Sophie.
European team-mate Lee Pearson took his section, the grade Ib, on his triple gold medalist Gentleman. Lee credited working the horse in the field the day before with getting him more forward.
Felicity Coulthard clinched the grade II on her mount of three years, Roffelaar, who produced a relaxed test for 68.79%.
Simon Laurens won the grade III riding his European team horse, Ocean Diamond. Typically hard on himself, Simon said: “I got the difficult things right and the easy things wrong!”
Sophie Wells, who won a gold hat-trick in Norway at the para Europeans on Pinocchio, partnered Valerius to the grade IV title here.
“I was pleased how he coped with the atmosphere — it was his first really big occasion and he seems to thrive on it,” said Sophie.

For the full report, analysis and pictures from the national championships, don’t miss Horse & Hound 24 September issue.