‘I’m gutted’: Nip Tuck withdrawn from Windsor freestyle

Carl Hester has confirmed that his Royal Windsor Horse Show ride, Nip Tuck, has been withdrawn ahead of this evening’s Al Shira’aa grand prix freestyle (10 May).

The 18hh Don Ruto gelding, known as Barney, scored 74.3% to finish behind Charlotte Dujardin and Erlentanz in last night’s grand prix, but Carl has told H&H that Barney has picked up an injury overnight.

“He was very sore this morning — I’m gutted. I’m disappointed not just for me but for the horse and all his fans who were hoping to see him tonight,” he said. “These things happen, but hopefully it’s nothing serious.”

Royal Windsor was just the second outing for the pair since they finished fourth individually at the European Championships in Gothenburg in 2017. Barney was given 2018 off competing, but returned to the competition arena in March this year where he and Carl won both the grand prix and the grand prix freestyle at Keysoe CDI.

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Carl and the 15-year-old gelding have been lynchpins of the British team in recent years, helping claim medals at the 2014 World Equestrian Games in Caen, the 2015 European Championships in Aachen and the 2016 Rio Olympics. They also finished third at the World Cup final in Omaha in 2017 and last competed at Windsor in 2015, where they won both the grand prix and the freestyle with almost 80%.

Tonight’s freestyle will kick off at 5.20pm, with Vicki Thompson-Winfield and Mango Jacaro the first Brits into the arena at 5.40pm. Last night’s grand prix victors, Charlotte Dujardin and Sonnar Murray-Brown’s Erlentanz, in action at 6.30pm. The pair scored a personal best of 78.03% to lead the grand prix by almost 4%.

Windsor dressage debutantes Louise Bell and Into The Blue will perform their freestyle at 6.40pm, while Richard Davison and Bubblingh — third in the grand prix — will be on at 6.50pm.

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