Harry Charles guarantees his place in the Longines FEI World Cup Final in the penultimate qualifying leg of the Western European League

Monday 05 February 2024

Harry Charles guarantees his place in the Longines FEI World Cup Final in the penultimate qualifying leg of the Western European League

Harry Charles added more World Cup points to his tally with a third place finish in the penultimate leg of the Western European League in Bordeaux, France. 

The still relatively inexperienced Sherlock stepped in for Harry to take third in the Longines FEI World Cup at Jumping de Bordeaux.  Thirty-five competitors came forward over course-designer Jean-Francois Murand’s 14-fence 1.60m track with only six coming up with the correct answers to qualify for the jump-off.  First to go in the jump-off, Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat set a blistering place on IS-Minka – “She likes to go fast!” – which proved unbeatable.   

Harry slotted the 11-year-old Sherlock (Bisquet Balou C x Malito De Reve) into third, 2.47 seconds in arrears, just behind France’s Jeanne Sadran and Dexter De Kerglenn.  

Harry was full of praise for his next superstar: “Sherlock is a very good horse, but he’s still very inexperienced at this level. He won a World Cup in La Coruna but hasn’t done many 1.60m classes in his life, so he is still learning. When I watched Steve’s round, he made it look very easy but riding it, I realised it wasn’t as easy as he made it look. Of course, I wanted to go in and catch him, but I knew after the first two fences I had no chance. So, I just tried to keep the fences up and do short turns where I could. Sherlock did a good job so I can’t complain. I think in the next six months he’ll learn to gain a little more speed and will become even more competitive. The plan is to take him to the final but there’s a big difference between a World Cup qualifier and a World Cup Final and I will have to see if he’s ready for it. As for the Olympic Games, I wish they could be in a year’s time because then he would have been perfect.  So far, I don’t know if we can make it for Paris 2024.”  

The 15 points earned in this, the 13th leg of 14 puts Harry in second place with 73 points on the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Western European League. It guarantees him a place in the final and puts him just one point ahead of British teammate Ben Maher.  Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann has a two-point lead to sit at the top of the table. 

Harry topped the FFE Generali Speed with Billabong Du Roumois earlier in the week.  Forty-one riders tackled the 5* 1.50m speed track with Harry on his father Peter and Stall Zet’s Mylord Carthago x Papillon Rouge 13-year-old skilfully galloping ahead. They won with almost two seconds to spare over France’s Roger Yves Bost in second aboard Ballerine Du Vilpion.  

Matt Sampson continued with his good form and, after claiming a victory double in Amsterdam the previous week with MGH Candy Girl, the pair came up trumps in Saturday’s 5* GSF 1.45m.  Thirty-five riders hit the ground running over the 12-fence course but no-one was quicker than Matt.  Isabel Fox’s 11-year-old Sligo Candy Girl x Cruising mare matched his fervour as they hit top speed in this very competitive class, where only 0.14 seconds separated the top three, to emerge triumphant.  Fellow British rider Scott Brash came within 0.10 seconds to claim second spot on Hello Mr President.   


Laura Renwick returns to dazzling form in Spain 

Laura Renwick looks to be back on sparkling form as she claimed the feature 3* Grand Prix with Enjoy CK Z to end the first week of the Moura Spring Tour in Valencia, Spain, on a high. 

Laura, who had been hospitalised after suffering two bad falls in the last 18 months, including breaking her pelvis and femur and undergoing surgery, has steadily worked her way back to fitness.  She was back to her speedy best in the BT 1.50m Grand Prix as 32 competitors faced a 13-fence course and only five returned initial clear rounds to access the jump-off.  Swift from the off, Laura guided Charlotte Rossetter and Pamela Wright’s 11-year-old Enjoy CK Z (Echo Van’t Spieveld x Coronado) into a 1.73 second win, pushing Luxembourg’s Victor Bettendorf and Foxy De La Roque into second. 

“I’m not sure I believed I would ever be able win something like this again after my injuries, but this mare has given me everything,” said Laura. 

James Smith also conjured up a World Ranking win, heading a 1.45m with Tayvale Hunky Dory.  Twelve of the original 38 starters posted clean rounds over the 12-fence track to qualify for the jump-off, James with the Balou Du Rouet x Master Imp 12-year-old he owns jointly with Jim Wilmer, comfortably easing ahead to take a 0.59 second win.  Laura and Enjoy CK Z had shown their early form here with a double clear and third place. 


Amanda Derbyshire and Otto BH sweep to a win in Florida 

Amanda Derbyshire seized victory in the Dodd Technologies 4* 1.50m with Otto BH in week four of the three-month Wellington International Tour in The USA. 

A field of 36 came forward over this $32,000 speed track designed by Maurico Garcia on the Equestrian Village’s Derby Field with Amanda securing a 1.05 second victory on the Norton D’Eole x Toulon 12-year-old to mark their second win of the tour.  The pair won the Adequan 2* WEF Challenge Cup in week two. 

According to Amanda, the 1.50m height seems to be the sweet spot for this stallion.   

“He’s a great horse and the 1.50m is kind of his level, so I use him when I can. I’m grateful for the entire team that makes wins like this possible, and I love riding on this field, so I always save him for this,” she said. 

“He’s fast, careful and very catlike and economical in his jump, and I stuck to the plan I walked this morning. He’s got a big stride so you can go forward to the fences – especially with this big field on a long run – you can really dare him at the jumps knowing you don’t have to slow up too much because he’s going to try to clear them.” 

Triumphant Grace Debney added to the girl power in the $62,500 2* Griffis Residential Grand Prix with Zarina De Vidau.   

Eleven of the initial 43 competitors answered every question set by course-designer Anderson de Moura Lima to battle it out in the jump-off. Grace found the shortest route, keeping a quick, even rhythm in her midway draw to forge ahead of her rivals on the 13-year-old Diamant De Semilly daughter by 1.67 seconds. Ireland’s Tom Wachman had to settle for second place on Lazzaro Delle Schiave.  

“She’s naturally super-fast. I walked a plan and talked about it with a few people but felt like I should stick with it.  A couple of people had different ideas but I know my horse really well because I’ve had her for five years,” said Grace, 20, who feared a couple of contenders would beat her. 

“I was definitely worried about Tom and Mark Bluman; Mark had my time so I was sweating a little but my mare’s so quick. I never have to wear spurs on her because she’s always going and you can’t really beat that footspeed. She won this Grand Prix two years ago and then she was out last WEF [Wellington Equestrian Festival], so it’s just really nice to have her back.”  

Ben Maher topped an early Dodd Technologies 1.45m with Charlotte Rossetter and Pamela Wright’s Action-Breaker 10-year-old Point Break.  From the start list of 45, 14 came through to the jump-off with Ben recording a 0.55 second win. 


Image: Harry Charles and Skerlock. Credit: Artiste Associe´ Photographes

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