Carl Hester added one of the dressage titles missing from his enviable collection when he won the Reem Acra FEI World Cup freestyle class at Olympia.
Hester, a mainstay of British teams for several years, has collected several major championship medals, highlighted by team gold at London 2012.
He has also won more national competitions than any other British rider, but the London International Horse Show’s headline dressage class had always eluded him.
It had also become the property of his Great Britain team-mate Charlotte Dujardin and the brilliant Valegro in recent times, but that all changed as Hester collected a £10,000 winner’s purse on his likely 2016 Rio Olympics horse Nip Tuck.
Hester’s score of 83.750 per cent aboard Nip Tuck was enough to pip Dujardin and the stallion Uthopia into second place on 82.550 per cent, while Holland’s Hans Peter Minderhoud and Glock’s Flirt finished third and young British prospect Lara Griffith fourth.
It meant that Hester avenged Tuesday night’s grand prix result, when he finished second behind Dujardin, whose Olympic, world and European champion Valegro is being prepared for Rio — where he will defend the Olympic individual title — and was rested from Olympia this year.
Showjumping action now takes centre-stage at Olympia, with Britain’s world number one Scott Brash leading a star-studded field that also features fellow star names like Ben Maher, Michael Whitaker, Jessica Mendoza, Bertram Allen, Simon Delstre, Ludger Beerbaum. Kevin Staut and Marcus Ehning.
Image: Carl Hester riding Nip Tuck at Olympia, by Kit Houghton, courtesy of the Olympia horse show