Carl Hester Rides Fine Time to British Championship for 2nd Straight Year

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Carl Hester and Fine Time in the lap of honor after the pair claimed their secpnd staght British national title. © 2013 Kevin Sparrow
Carl Hester and Fine Time in the lap of honor after the pair claimed their secpnd staght British national title. © 2013 Kevin Sparrow

STONELEIGH, England, Sept. 22–It was a sense of déjà vous as Carl Hester performed the victory gallop on Fine Time 13 after having claimed the Grand Prix Freestyle Sunday to become Britain’s dressage champion for the second straight year.

The titles were the 65th and 66th title and the eighth straight time as national champion to equal the record of the doyenne of British dressage, Jennie Loriston Clarke. “I’ll just have to do it one more time!” Carl quipped.

Carl and Fine Time posted 76.65 per cent  with Anders Dahl on Fiona Bigwood’s Wie Atlantico De Ymas second on 74.40 per cent and Lara Griffith on Andretti H, that Laura Tomlinson rode to two national titles, in third on 74.03 per cent.

“He was brilliant again today,” Carl said. “He was a bit flat to start with in the warm up but then spotted Nikki Crisp’s Pasoa who is a mare and he’s madly fallen in love with her. That certainly perked him up!”

Michael Eilberg on Woodlander Farouche (Furst Heinrich x Dimaggio) drew an early Sunday morning crowd to post a score of 79.05 per cent in the Suregrow Advanced Medium Open Championship. Now seven, and in her first year of ‘grown up’ competition, the chestnut mare displayed all the qualities that earned her the title of FEI World Young Horse Champion both as a five and six-year-old.

Michael Eilberg and Woodlander Farrouche. © 2013 Kavin Sparrow
Michael Eilberg and Woodlander Farrouche. © 2013 Kavin Sparrow

“She always feels unbelievable,” Michael said. “She’s on fire and felt edgy in the collecting ring so I aimed to ride a nice test without boiling over. The half passes and fluidity were great. We had the couple of mistakes but everything she does is such good quality. Through a test, what a normal horse would be running on, she’s a mark above. Her base mark is 80 per cent.”

Michael also filled the second spot with his medium open winner from Saturday, Fuerst Sinclair,  the 10-year-old son of Fuerst Heinrich, with 71.95 per cent.

“I was really pleased with him. He’s very talented but was a bit green at this level. When I came back from Herning (Denmark for the Europeans) he’d forgotten how to do flying changes! When I did a demo at Burghley Horse Trials with him I put a few in to remind him!” Michael joked.

Jo Hamilton and Corchapin won the Stretch & Flex Elementary Open Championship with a score of 72.31 per cent to edge ahead of runners-up, Becky Moody and Carinsio on 72.13 per cent.

“I knew Becky was the one to beat with that score, plus she’s such a technician,” Jo, said. “Corchapin was great today; as consistent as I’ve ever known him. It was the best test at elementary he’s ever done – just one of those days when everything went right.”

Jo Hamilton and Corchapin. © 2013 Kevin Sparrow
Jo Hamilton and Corchapin. © 2013 Kevin Sparrow

Jo trains with Carl Hester for whom she worked for five years after leaving school.

“I’m so grateful to Carl for his support and belief in me,” she said. “He offered me Colin (Corchapin) sight unseen as he knew that he’d suit me. I’m sure he could have sold him for more elsewhere. I love the Negro-sired horses as they have such a great temperament–look at Valegro. I’ve just bought another one from Carl so that’s exciting for the future. I pick him up on my way home today!”