British riders Harry Charles and Charlotte Dujardin won in the sixth leg of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup 2021/2022 and fourth leg of the FEI Dressage World Cup 2021/2022 Western European League respectively in London.
Harry Charles has topped the sixth leg of the circuit on home grounds with the help of Stardust, his 11-year-old mare. The 22-year old surprised the crowd when both produced an incredible round that proved to be the best, above Harrie Smolders and Monaco who finished second and John Whitaker with Unick du Francport who ended third.
“This is a bucket-list thing, I’ve grown up watching this show every year and it’s been one of my dreams to win the World Cup in London!” -Harry Charles
The course was designed by Brazilian Guilherme Jorge, who set the track that required control at every turn. The short distance inside the double at fence eight was particularly complicated for riders in London.
Michael Duffy produced the first clear, going third with Lapuccino in a time of 39.38. However, Norwegian Geir Gulliksen shaved almost a whole second off, temporarily taking the lead with VDL Groep Quatro.
British showjumping hero John Whitaker, crowned twice as series champion, went to the ring galloping at an incredible speed of 37.50 seconds. However, Harrie Smolders risked it during the jumpoff and it paid off as they stopped the clock in 36.77 seconds. Olympic individual gold champion Ben Maher was almost two seconds slower with Faltic HB.
Third-last to go, Charles stuck to his plan. He set off with a perfect rhythm, meeting every fence on a perfect stride and finishing in 35.91 seconds. He was concerned about Martin Fuchs, who was still to jump, but after the Swiss rider hit the first element at fence eight, victory was secured.
Three-time Olympic champion Charlotte Dujardin was on fire with Gio, earning a well deserved victory in the fourth leg of the FEI Dressage World Cup. The horse has recently been sold but was seen for a final performance at the London International Horse Show.
The partnership earned a personal-best Freestyle score of 89.040. Second spot went to British Charlotte Fry riding Dark Legend, while Frederic Wandres from Germany slotted into third with Duke of Britain.
Wandres was the first to score above 80 percent, a mark that could have been higher if it wasn’t for two mistakes in the two-tempi changes. Danish Nanna Skodborg Merrald and Atterupgaards Orthilia followed into the ring and appeared to be a strong challenge, but the pair was eliminated after blood was found in the mare’s mouth.
Dressage rider Fry went next and raised the bar with a wonderful performance from Dark Legend. However, the show was not over as Dujardin and Gio went last. Gio has grown in confidence and ability, and this reflected their performance as they exceeded their Tokyo mark of 88.513 with a final score of 89.040 that included 10 maximum scores of 10.
“He truly is a very special horse. This year he did his very first Olympics, his very first Europeans and now he’s just finished off by winning the World Cup here at the London International Horse Show. What a legend!” -Charlotte Dujardin