Charlotte and Imhotep topped the grand prix – the nine-year-old Everdale son’s third ever test at this level – and followed this up with a win in the grand prix special. Both tests earned them personal best scores, of 77.76% in the grand prix and 78.36% in the special.
Imhotep, known at home as Pete, is owned by Carl Hester and Coral Ingham. He made his international debut last month in Compiègne, France, and is already shaping up to be a serious prospect for the World Championships, which take place this August in Herning, Denmark. His progress will boost British hopes, which took a blow last week when it was revealed that this is likely to be the first championship at which Carl Hester will not ride on the British team since 2008.
“Since Valegro, Pete is the one who’s given me that feeling of so much confidence in the arena,” Charlotte told H&H. “He’s a very inexperienced grand prix horse, but he always tries and I absolutely love that.”
Gareth Hughes and his top mare Classic Briolinca also continued their campaign for selection with success, finishing second in both classes at Wellington, less than 2% behind Charlotte and Imhotep in each.
Gareth said he “couldn’t be happier” with the way the 16-year-old Trento B mare has returned to competition after 18 months off to recover from an injury sustained in early 2021. His second string horse, Sintano Van Hof Olympia – who won team silver at the 2021 European Championships – also performed admirably, winning the grand prix freestyle. Although it was the Sandro Hit 12-year-old’s first ever music test, and Gareth admitted he “made it up” after completing the floorplan with music to spare, they posted 76.8%.
Second in the freestyle was Richard Davison and Bubblingh, earning 75.41% despite a “tricky start”.
While Charlotte and Gareth appear to be front runners for the World Championship team, alongside Netherlands-based Lottie Fry with her trio of grand prix horses, with Carl lacking a qualified championship ride, the fourth spot on the team remains uncertain. Nominated entries must be submitted to the FEI by 4 July, with the selected team of four due to be announced by 25 July. The World Championships kick off on 6 August.
Also running at Wellington were the para semi-finals, in which Britain’s top para riders showed their hands ahead of selection for the para dressage World Championships, also taking place in August in Herning. All three members of the 2021 Tokyo Paralympic gold medal-winning team – Sophie Wells, Lee Pearson and Natasha Baker – scored wins aboard their top horses. As in dressage, nominated entries are due on 4 July for the para worlds, with team selection by 25 July.
Don’t miss our full coverage from the Wellington CDI, Premier League and Festival of Para Dressage, out in the 16 June issue of H&H.
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