Harry Charles lands the Oliva Nova 3* grand prix in style


Harry Charles saved the best until last to finish Autumn MET II in Oliva Nova, Spain, with victory in the world ranking 3* 1.50m grand prix by the tiniest of fractions from fellow Brit Chad Fellows.

Sixty originally contended this feature class over a 13-fence track and such was the quality 16 posted first round clears. Winning was not going to be a pushover. Second-drawn Chad was all out to win and set a sizzling target on the Diamant De Semilly/Heartbreaker 10-year-old Vinci De Beaufour and remained ahead despite several challenges. Until fellow Brit Harry entered the ring with relatively new ride Bambina, and the Cassini I/Carvallo 10-year-old mare answered every call to edge ahead by just 0.01 of a sec.

It is only the second show for Harry and Bambina and their first grand prix. The pair first jumped at Horse of the Year Show and previously the mare has been competed by Scarlett Charles and Shane O’Reilly.

“I was surprised to win today, she’s not naturally the fastest horse but she has a huge stride and I made sure to do the turns as tight as possible and I think this is what made the difference. It was a fair course but all week it was tough to qualify for the grand prix,” said Harry.

“I only took over the reins in October, my sisters Scarlett and Sienna have ridden her before me and they’ve done a good job producing her, hopefully she’ll do some good things in the future.”

The Charles clan had made the three weeks here a family affair.

“My whole family was here, even my mom [Tara] and she doesn’t come to too many shows and it was nice to have her here,” continued Harry. “The show has changed a lot since I was last here and I think the main ring is one of the best in Europe; you can ride big distances with a lot of canter, really attack the fences and that’s how I like to ride.”

Jess Dimmock on Primo Bella Swan and Scarlett Charles with Lordanos Junior returned the steadiest of the double clears to take ninth and 10th places with four faults dropping Kayleigh Watts on Ninkie De Vy Z and Jane Annett’s Billy Tudor to 12th and 13th.

Matt Sampson topped the gold 1.40m speed on Firefly W in a hot competition. Eighty-one competitors tackled this class but Matt outpaced them all, the Nabab De Reve/Voltaire nine-year-old flying into the top spot with 1.86 sec to spare. Lance Whitehouse guided Alex H into third with Olivia Poole’s Quality fourth and William Funnell on Billy Ring in sixth just ahead of Jane Annett’s Billy Du Montois in seventh. Chad Fellows eased Eindhoven GH into ninth, Christina Gachoud was 14th on ESI Hazel while steadier clears from Pippa Funnell (Billy Amber ) and Jodie Hall-McAteer (Hello M’Lord) finished in 18th and 19th places.

Matt eased Centos Girl into fourth in the gold 1.30m speed, the Cento/Con Capitol nine-year-old finishing 4.45 sec off the pace. Ruby Fryer slotted Hallmark into sixth and Max Routledge jumped the steadiest clear for ninth on Mr Bullseye. Abbe Burchmore Eames picked up two time faults for 10th on Glamorous and four faults dropped Olivia Poole (Elnora) and Faye Adams (Gladiator) down to 12th and 13th.

Claire Beecroft claimed the bronze 1.40m final with Kandora. Only five of the 32 starters reached the jump-off with Claire and the Berlin nine-year-old winning by 0.73 sec. Stevie Jenkins slotted Vivamunde Z into third with the steadiest of the double clears and four faults dropped Bethanie Knight’s Topmodel Van Overis Z to fourth. One rail down in the first round put Sophie Stockdale (Grauffs Clear Round) and Megan James (Hamberlane) into sixth and eighth.

Stevie also claimed fourth in the 35-strong bronze 1.30m speed on the Calvaro Z nine-year-old Marlvaro six sec off the pace. Jasmin Head was right behind for fifth on the Olmypic Lux seven-year-old Keatingstown Olympic Star.

Brits filled four of the top six places in the bronze 1.20m speed with Ronnie Jones leading the way on the Hold Up Premier/White Clover 10-year-old Premier Diamond, holding off his 39 rivals to win by 1.52 sec. Holly Hall claimed third on the 10-year-old WKD San Remo just ahead of Sophie Stockdale in fourth on Hella while Olivia Spurrell netted sixth on Billy Prompt. Steadier clears from Giorgia Distefano (White Sparke Cara) and Jo McGlory (Simply Classy) finished 14th and 18th.

Isabella Beecroft-Luckett slotted Vanda Cartier into second in the eight-horse decider of the bronze 1.10m, the Lord Z/Rubert R 13-year-old 1.04 sec behind the winner. Imogen Beecroft stopped the clock with more than three sec in hand over the winning time but four faults pushed Roscoe’s Amour down the order to fifth. Katie Whitehead also came home on four for sixth with HSE Grand Slam.

Text and Photos © Jumping Around/MET II & 1clicphoto

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