Carl Hester won the Windsor grand prix freestyle under spotlights tonight (15 May) with his own and Jane de la Mare’s Nip Tuck.
They were just shy of their 80% target, posting 79.45% in front of the appreciative sell-out crowd.
Carl rode to a ‘God save the Queen’ medley, apt as the Queen had been at the show that day.
“I hope she was watching,” said Carl with a grin. “We didn’t quite hit that 80% as he didn’t walk quite as well tonight; the music made him a bit hotter.”
He will next head to Austria for Fritzens CDI (26-28 June).
The second-placed horse, Fiona Bigwood’s Atterrupgaards Orthilia, will also make the trip to the picturesque Alpine venue.
The Gribaldi mare – who attracted high praise from all quarters – scored 76.5%.
“I’m so pleased,” said Fiona, who was riding with one eye covered to help prevent double vision caused by a fall last year.
“There were more people here tonight than for grand prix night and they clapped just before we went in, so I wasn’t sure how she’d react.”
She rode to her former grand prix horse Mr G’s freestyle.
Fiona’s husband Anders Dahl filled third place with Wie Atlantico, a 16-year-old who has been competing at grand prix for eight years.
Anders, who rides for Denmark, was pleased with the Wie Weltmeyer’s performance, which earned 71.9%.
His compatriot Sune Hansen – who is also now based in Britain – was fourth on the attractive chestnut Charmeur with 71.55%.
The best of the Brits in the chasing pack were Hayley Watson-Greaves and the 11-year-old Rubin Royal gelding Rubins Nite, who cemented their recent good form at the sport’s top level.
Last night’s fourth-placed rider Alice Oppenheimer slipped to fourth, once again falling frustratingly short of the 70% mark. But given that Alice had been suffering from tonsilitis all week, her results were very creditable.