Harry Charles, one of the most prodigious young talents in the sport today, won the sixth leg of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2021/2022 Western European League at the ExCel Arena in London (GBR) on sunday afternoon.
From a starting field of 35, a total of 11 horse-and-rider combinations went through to the second-round decider which provided one of the most thrilling jump-offs seen in a very long time.
The home crowd jumped to their feet with delight when British legend, 66-year-old John Whitaker, took the lead when sixth to go with Unick de Francport who broke the beam 37.50 seconds only to be immediately overtaken by 41-year-old Dutchman Harrie Smolders partnering Monaco who stopped the clock on 36.77.
But with just three left to run, 22-year-old Charles, whose father Peter was a member of Britain’s Olympic gold medal winning team in London in 2012, triggered another standing ovation when racing through the finish with the 11-year-old mare Stardust to set the winning time of 35.91 seconds.
Today’s result promotes the young Briton to second place on the Western European League table, just one point behind longtime leader Denis Lynch from Ireland. With just four more qualifying legs left to go, Charles looks well set for a place at the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2022 Final in Leipzig, Germany next April.
The seventh leg of the Western European League series will take place in Basel, Switzerland on 16 January.