Harry Charles took the honours in the CSI4* 1.45m Speed class sponsored by Horseware Ireland on the closing day of the Equerry Bolesworth International Horse Show.
Last but one to enter the International Arena, the Junior British rider stormed around the Alan Wade, designed course to knock half a second off the target time riding the 10-year-old gelding Controe for his father Peter.
With 65 competitors coming forward for the one round speed class, the Bolesworth crowd knew that the lead was likely to change hands throughout the morning. Second in to the ring, Ireland’s Richard Howley held poll position with Tango du Valdecie when completing clear in 56.38 seconds. The clear rounds kept coming and William Funnell was next to pose a leadership challenge after a faultless round with Billy Angelo in 53.52 seconds. Funnell held his place at the top of the scoreboard despite strong challenges from those that followed, including Belgian rider Francois Jr Mathy with Falco Van De Clehoeve who posted a final time just three tenths of a second behind the leader.
As the competition reached its conclusion, the Knockout Champion from Saturday evening, Chloe Aston did her best to overtake the leaders but had to settle for fourth place in the final standings with Amigo T; stopping the clock at 54.04 seconds. The action was all but over and Funnell was tasting victory as Harry Charles came in to the arena and delivered a scorching clear round, passing through the finish flags in just 53.22 seconds.
‘I didn’t see William’s round but I knew how fast he was,’ said Harry after his victory. ‘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 so has been rehabilitating for the last few months. He’s back now and really jumping at the top of his game.’
‘It’s my first time at Bolesworth and my first CSI4* show. To have the opportunity as a young rider to be invited to a show like this is amazing. It can be hard to find invitations to compete against the best and showcase our talent but Nina Barbour has let us do that here.’
‘We’ll give the horses some time off now before heading to Belgium for two weeks and hopefully, if selected, on to the European Showjumping Championships.’
The action came down to the wire in the penultimate CSI4* class of the show. Under the blistering midday sun in the Castle Arena, 31 combinations came forward looking for their share of the €7,500 on offer in the CSI4* 1.40m Table C competition sponsored by Voltaire Saddles. Here, each rail down sees four seconds added to the time of the competitor and spectators knew that they were in for a fast and furious 45 minutes. Jessica Mendoza and Wan Architect were the first to deliver a clear round in a time of 62.49 and held on to the top position until Keith Shore came in with Coriander Van´t Vennehof and scratched over five seconds off the target time to complete in 57.40 seconds.
The second half of the competition saw the appearance of some well known speed merchants but it wasn’t until Darragh Kenny came in that Shore’s lead was severely threatened. With Vlock Show Stables’ 11-year-old stallion Chakito, the Irish rider proved to be over a second faster and went in to the lead on 56.10 seconds.
Kenny thought he had done enough but he didn’t count on the challenge to come from Louise Saywell and Feigtling. Fresh from winning the Mini Major class in the International Arena, the Nottingham-based rider shaved another half a second from the target time to complete in 55.64 seconds. Despite their best efforts, the remaining four riders were unable to challenge this, earning Saywell the win with Graham Ward’s 12-year-old gelding.