GREAT BRITAIN cleaned up in the fourth leg of the FEI World Cup dressage series at Olympia last week with Laura Bechtolsheimer, Charlotte Dujardin and Carl Hester taking the top three placings.

The trio of riders – all based in Gloucestershire – had also been members of the European gold medal-winning GB team in August.

With the Olympics in London just months away, our medal prospects could not be in better hands.

World No.2 Bechtolsheimer, from Ampney St Peter, won the grand prix freestyle to music aboard Mistral Hojris with a magnificent score of 83.975%, after losing out to Dujardin the night before in the grand prix special.

All three Brits posted exceptional scores – Dujardin (83.700%) and Hester (83.450%) – prompting FEI Director of Dressage, Trond Asmyr, to call it ‘the best qualifier we’ve had.’ Laura’s mount ‘Alf’, who has in the past struggled in front of noisy crowds, looked poised and collected as he was expertly guided through the test.

“I’m thrilled,” said Laura. “We won the grand prix here last year, but we’ve never won the freestyle, and this is such a special show; the home crowd are great. It means everything.

“I wanted to show that Alf and me aren’t old news, and there’s still more to come.”

Laura and Alf’s win comes just weeks after she was inducted into the British Horse Society’s Equestrian Hall of Fame, joining the likes of Jennie Loriston-Clarke in a prestigious ceremony held at the Household Cavalry’s Knightsbridge Barracks.

It was also an historic win for Laura and Alf who are the first British winners of the Olympia World Cup qualifier since its inception in 2004; ironically, they are also the first Britons to win a World Cup qualifier freestyle since Loriston-Clarke and Dutch Gold.

This year has also been a great one for Dujardin and Valegro.

Based with Hester in Newent, she pipped Bechtolsheimer to the post with a barnstorming test score of 81.04% on her Olympia debut in the grand prix special.

Dujardin’s mentor, Hester, who had to settle for third in both classes, said: “I really wanted to beat Laura and Charlotte and I don’t think there was much more I could have done.”