Carl Hester and Nip Tuck Shine at Olympia
The Olympia Grand Hall saw a sell-out crowd for yesterday evening’s performance at the 2016 London International Horse Show! The FEI World Cup Dressage Freestyle to Music wowed the packed crowd, with Carl Hester dominating for the second night running.
CARL KEEPS HIS OLYMPIA CROWN
The second day at Olympia, The London International Horse Show could not have ended any more perfectly than with British Dressage’s own Superman, Carl Hester winning the FEI World Cup Dressage Grand Prix Freestyle. The win with Nip Tuck, Hester’s second consecutive Olympia FEI World Cup qualifying win with his 18 hand high 2016 Olympic team silver partner, came during an emotionally charged evening performance that saw the retirement of Nip Tuck’s stable and Olympic team mate Valegro. Hester and Nip Tuck’s freestyle (84.669) delighted the capacity crowd many of who have come back to Olympia every year since the prestigious FEI World Cup qualifier was initiated here in 2003.
“That was the biggest atmosphere at Olympia that I have ever experienced,” said Hester, who is now aiming for the FEI World Cup Final in Omaha in April. “Even yesterday in the Grand Prix it was super-charged and not just because of the numbers. Barney was a little on edge but I was really pleased that even out there, with so many people, he kept with me.”
Hester was also a major part of the evening’s retirement ceremony for Valegro. “It has been such a joyous occasion,” said Hester. “I know everyone thought it would be sad, but how could anyone be sad to see Valegro go out so fit and well and happy – it’s been a happy-sad day.” Hester and Nip Tuck not only successfully defended their Olympia title, but comfortably held off the potential challenge from Dutch Olympic riders Hans Peter Minderhoud with Glock’s Flirt (81.880) and Edward Gal with Glock’s Voice (80.467).
The two Dutch riders, as last night in the Grand Prix, took second and third place. Hans Peter Minderhoud, the current holder of the FEI World Cup title took the runner up position with Glock’s Flirt with who he won the title last year – his first FEI World Cup accolade. “I expected a great class with a big atmosphere so I knew we would have to produce our very best and then I heard Carl’s score,” said Minderhoud. “I just had to keep to the plan and do the best we could and not over-ride him. He was really with me and really trying so I am super happy, but perhaps it’s time to make my freestyle more difficult.”
Fellow Dutchman Edward Gal and the stallion Glock’s Flirt were third, while Irish rider Judy Reynolds and Vancouver K (78.269) performed a powerful and expressive routine to a seasonal foot-tapping compilation to be fourth. British rider Hayley Watson-Greaves achieved a personal best with Rubins Nite for fifth place. While Hester has yet to win a FEI World Cup™ Final, he has trained both Valegro and his rider Charlotte who have won the FEI World Cup™ series on two occasions (2014 & ’15). The pair are the current holders of the record FEI World Cup™ Grand Prix (87.129% in Lyon, 2014) and Grand Prix Freestyle score (94.16 in Las Vegas, 2016).