Last night after the Grand Prix at Olympia, The London Horse Show, Carl Hester threw down the gauntlet. Tonight he put words into action and with Nip Tuck (83.750%) ran out the winner of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Freestyle supported by Horse & Hound.
Promising the most difficult freestyle he could muster, the British Olympic and European gold medallist delivered with a brand new test of high technical difficulty and was delighted to nail the win. It was also a convincing personal best (PB) freestyle score for the combination.
“This is really huge for me,” said a delighted Hester. “Last night I thought I had a chance and decided to grab it. I was a little nervous as to whether it would come off and to produce a test like that you really have to have a horse on your side. It just goes to show that after 25 years in the job and riding Grand Prix you never really know what you have and Nip Tuck is really turning into something I never thought he was.”
The showcase performance by the British Master relegated the then leaders Charlotte Dujardin and Uthopia (82.55), to second place. The pair had produced an energetic and expressive test and also produced their highest and best score to date.
“I am really happy with the test,” said Charlotte who is lining up the Dutch-bred stallion as a second string for Rio. “Last night he felt really fresh and tonight a little tired and there were a few errors. He is a very different ride to Valegro and is a little ring shy and I still have to hold his hand a bit but he tried so hard.”
Hans Peter Minderhoud, a regular Dutch visitor to Olympia and Glocks Flirt (80.975) took third and in a night of PBS followed suit producing a score marginally higher than their bets and winning score in Stockholm last month.
“I was pleased with that – it was a little difficult coming in after Charlotte but he really tried for me and it is a great feeling when they are on your side,” said Minderhoud who always puts Olympia in his diary, “I love the show and London,” said Hans. “It is a great show, a great audience and a good way to end the year before Christmas.”
Juggling a revision timetable for medical finals and show jumping training produced its first fruitful result for Olympia first-timer Second Lt Amy Lambert of the Army Medical Services. Riding her own Chequers Play The Game, she jumped the sole double clear of the Services Jumping Championships to secure the title.
“I didn’t realise I was the only double clear until after the class,” said Second Lt Lambert, whose medical finals are in just three weeks’ time. “I am absolutely ecstatic – you are doing well to qualify for this final.”
In preparation for her exams and this competition, Second Lt Lambert has been based at event rider Vittoria Panizzon’s yard for the past week. “Elvis”, as Chequers Play The Game is known at home, competes successfully with Vittoria in eventing and won the Aldon CIC** with her just two months ago.
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For more information visit www.olympiahorseshow.com