Carl Hester is on target to win his second consecutive Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage title at Olympia.
The British star produced a superb test on Nip Tuck to win the Grand Prix qualifier with 77.540%. He headed off a strong Dutch challenge, with Hans Peter Minderhoud and Glock’s Flirt (76.300%) and Edward Gal and Glock’s Choice (74.300%) finishing second and third respectively.
Carl and Nip Tuck will have to repeat the win in tomorrow’s Grand Prix Freestyle to claim the Olympia title, but as reigning champions they will start as favourites, and tonight’s win certainly proved the pair is on top form.
“I think I can improve on my score as well, I need to ride more attacking for very high points,” said Carl. “This is the stepping stone for tomorrow, I wanted a nice clear round tonight. For how spooky he is, he’s becoming a very reliable horse.”
British rider Emile Faurie made a welcome return to the Olympia arena, finishing fourth with Weekend Fun on a score of 72.060%.
Fellow Brits Hayley Watson-Greaves (Rubins Nite) took fifth, with Michael Eilberg and Marakov in seventh, and Henriette Andersen one place behind him on Warlocks Charm.
There was disappointment for fans of Laura Tomlinson, however. The British rider, who is putting her competition career on hold after this show in order to have her second child, finished 13th with the 10-year-old mare Rosalie B.
Tomorrow’s Grand Prix Freestyle gets underway at 7.30pm on Wednesday.
Horse & Country will be at Olympia, bringing you daily reports, videos and up-the-minute news from the show. Our coverage is brought to you in association with Spillers Horse Feeds. We’ll also be showing extensive television highlights following the event – watch on Sky channel 253 or on H&C Play.