BENTWORTH show jumper Harry Charles, just back from international Junior Nations Cup and Grand Prix success in Wierden, took the honours in the CSI4* 1.45m speed class on the closing day of the Equerry Bolesworth International Horse Show.
Last but one to enter the International Arena at Tattenhall in Cheshire, the Great Britain junior, riding 10-year-old gelding Controe for his, father Peter Charles, stormed around the Alan Wade-designed course to knock half a second off the target time.
With 65 competitors coming forward for the one-round speed class, sponsored by Horseware Ireland, the Bolesworth crowd knew that the lead was likely to change hands throughout the morning.
Second into the ring, Ireland’s Richard Howley held pole position with Tango du Valdecie when completing clear in 56.38secs.
The clear rounds kept coming and William Funnell was next to pose a leadership challenge after a faultless round with Billy Angelo in 53.52secs.
Funnell remained top of the scoreboard, despite a strong challenge from Belgian rider Francois Jr Mathy on Falco Van De Clehoeve, their time being just three tenths of a second off the lead.
The action was all but over and Funnell was tasting victory as Harry Charles entered the arena and delivered a scorching clear round, passing through the finish flags in just 53.22secs.
“I didn’t see William’s round, but I knew how fast he was,” said Harry later. ‘I know that my horse is so fast and that I could beat him if I did all my lines and rode the right distances everywhere.
“Controe had an injury towards the end of last year and has been rehabilitating for the last few months. He’s back now and jumping at the top of his game.”
It was the 17-year-old’s first time at Bolesworth and his first CSI4* show.
“To have the opportunity as a young rider to be invited to a show like this is amazing,” he said. “It can be hard to find invitations to compete against the best and showcase your talent, but Nina Barbour has let us do that here.”
Harry now has some time off before heading to Belgium and hopefully, if selected, on to the European Showjumping Championships.’
His sister, Sienna Charles, competing in the 1.40m international senior class at the same show, was also a winner. The CSI 2* 1.40m jump-off class saw just 14 competitors out of 56 make it through to the deciding round. Sienna’s age, just 14, and an early draw proved no disadvantage as she claimed victory by posting a foot-perfect clear in 42.37secs aboard another of Peter Charles’ horses, 10-year-old mare Chaitanya.
With just four combinations recording a clear second round, Sienna maintained a four-second lead over her rivals.
She said: “I knew I could go fast enough, but the people behind me were very experienced. I just had to move up where I could. There were some tricky lines and I took a stride out at the triple bar.
“I’ve had Chaitanya for nearly two years. She’s called Flicka at home and loves bananas.”
Victory in a strong international field was a remarkable result for a young rider still eligible to jump ponies for some years.