Young British talent wins at London International Horse Show on a horse who ‘spooks at himself spooking’

  • Harry Charles scored a win for Britain in the London Horse Show showjumping this afternoon, taking the Champagne-Taittinger ivy stakes on Borsato.

    The 22-year-old British rider was the seventh to go in a 10-rider jump-off and managed to take more than a second off Marcus Ehning’s time on Calanda, with Marcus finishing in 35.15sec and Harry in 34.07sec.

    The German had taken an inside line through the middle of the double to the final upright, but Harry opted to keep moving round the outside, having already made up time with a tight turn from the second to third and a gallop to the Longines oxer at five.

    “The horse came off the back of a big win in Geneva last week, so I knew what his strengths were, especially indoors,” said Harry.

    “I knew two to three was where I could be particularly tight and I think I was quite tight there as I heard the crowd go, ‘Oooh’. He’s so nimble and turns really quick, so my tactics were to be turning nearly before I’d landed.

    “I looked at the inner line Marcus did, but for me I didn’t find it so much quicker, so I thought I’m just going to keep going around and I’m happy it worked out.”

    Harry has been riding the 15-year-old Borsato, who belongs to Heathcroft Farm and NET 5, for three years but until last week they had never won a class together. Now they have won two in a week.

    Harry said: “He’s the most experienced horse I have, but he’s the biggest baby as well. He feels like he’s four or five years old some days. He’s scared of absolutely everything. If he spooks, he’ll spook at himself spooking.

    “But he’s an amazing horse. He’s 15 now, but I believe he’ll go to 18 or 19 no problem. He’s a great member of my team and I’m lucky to have him.”

    Borsato will now be aimed at the London Horse Show showjumping grand prix on Monday evening.

    The first-round course set by Brazil’s Guilherme Jorge for this 1.55m class caused faults all around the track, but the most influential line was over the oxer at fence three, then three strides to a one-stride double of verticals at fence four. The distances were tight and a number of horses faulted at fence 4a, including pathfinder Mr Blue Sky UK, last night’s puissance winner with Guy Williams.

    The time was quite lenient, but Anthony Condon missed out on a place in the jump-off with one time-fault on SFS Vincomte. France’s Kevin Staut jumped clear in the first round,  but elected not to return for the showdown with Tolede De Mescam Harcour.

    Another young British talent, Jack Whitaker, set the standard in the jump-off, coming home clear in 35.98sec for eventual fifth on Elucar V.E.

    Marcus Ehning was third to go with his challenge on Calanda and was followed by Ireland’s Michael G Duffy, who made a good recovery after Rising Son pecked badly on landing over the second fence and went down on his right knee. He jumped a slower clear to finish seventh.

    Holly Smith, Harry’s team-mate on the British squad at the Tokyo Olympics, looked like she would put in a spirited challenge on Fruselli but she had two fences down.

    Belgium’s Gregory Wathelet finished third on Conchento PS, with Switzerland’s Edouard Schmitz (fourth on Gamin Van’t Naastveldhof) and the USA’s Lillie Keenan (sixth on Skyhorse) completing the seven jump-off clears.

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