Britain’s Hester wins at London Olympia

London, Dec 16 (IANS) Britain’s Carl Hester won the fifth leg of the FEI World Cup Dressage 2016/2017 Western European League with Nip Tuck on an emotional night when the retirement of his stable-star Valegro was announced at the London Olympia.

Hester, 49, and his 12-year-old gelding were also winners last year, captured the title with a score of 84.669 per cent. Hans Peter Minderhoud and Glock’s Flirt finished second with 81.880 ahead of Dutch compatriot and 2010 champion Edward Gal in third with Glock’s Voice here on Thursday, reports Xinhua news agency.

Judy Reynolds finished fourth with Vancouver K and 35-year-old Irish phenomenon climbed to the top of the Western European League going into the next leg of the series in Amsterdam in February.

Valegro, who won also everything with Charlotte Dujardin in the past five years including the London and Rio Olympic champions, was officially retired from the sport after presenting one last stunning performance of their winning London 2012 Olympic Games Freestyle test.

Hester, who trained and mentored the pair, said “it has been such a joyous occasion – I know everyone wanted it to 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!”

Dujardin described Valegro as “just the perfect horse, with the biggest heart in the world, he always gave me his very best.”

Although he is retiring from competition, Valegro will continue to give celebrity appearances and demonstrations.

“I want to retire him at the top of his game because he owes me absolutely nothing,” Dujardin said.

“Now we can take the pressure off and go around and really enjoy ourselves. He deserves that.”