Brits within touching distance of World Cup podium – with one round still to go

  • British riders are on top form at the FEI Jumping World Cup Final in Leipzig, Germany, and with just one round left to jump in today’s final leg, both Harry Charles and Jack Whitaker are among the top six riders on the leaderboard.

    Jack jumped a stellar clear round Frank Rothenberger’s sizable course on the grey Equine America Valmy De La Lande, who looked to have springs in his heels and is yet to touch a fence all week at the Jumping World Cup Final. Jack incurred just one time fault, leaving him sixth on nine penalties going into the second round of this class.

    “The horse has been unbelievable and I cannot fault him at all,” said Jack. “It was a bit of a tough course with some big oxers in there; he is a bit of a careful jumper so you’ve got to get it right at those oxers. I had to give him enough space so I just had a time fault.”

    With several of the next few riders having poles down, Harry Charles took over the lead when he jumped a super clear inside the time on Romeo 88, his Tokyo Olympics horse. This was then matched by Switzerland’s Martin Fuchs, leaving the two neck and neck on the leaderboard in third with five penalties.

    Harrie Smolders of The Netherlands, second coming into today, kept his World Cup dream alive when remaining fault-free on Monaco, but Friday’s winner, the USA’s McLain Ward, opened the competition up with a pole down on Contagious, meaning he and Harrie are now tied at the top of the table with four penalties apiece.

    With just one time fault splitting Harry from the top two, and with Jack just a fence and a time fault behind, both are in with a realistic chance of making the podium, later this afternoon.

    John Whitaker had just one pole down on Equine America Unick Du Francport, leaving him 13th at the moment.

    The top 20 riders will now jump a second, more difficult round, with the fences raised.

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