Harry Charles as part of Team Europe victorious in Paris

Saturday 01 December 2018

Harry Charles as part of Team Europe victorious in Paris

It was a brilliant victory for Team Europe and GB’s 19 year-old Harry Charles when they claimed the Longines Masters of Paris title this evening in front of a capacity crowd.

The competition, which launched last year, is one that sees Europe compete against the USA in a transatlantic battle.  With five riders in each team they are randomly drawn in the first round to allow for one rider of each Team to compete in a duel across a Grand Prix course.  The winning rider of the two then claims the lion share of the points on offer.  The points are then added together to give a Team Total which they carry through to the second round.

The second round, which is a speed one, continues in the same duel format but with the Team Managers having the benefit of being able to change horses and also change who their riders will jump against.  This works by allowing the Manager of the losing team in the first round to designate his first rider giving the winning team the advantage of choosing their opponent.  It then switches for the next duel.

Coming forward to the second round, Team Europe were on 45 points whilst the USA sat on 35 as a result of four of the five European riders picking up the maximum 10 points on offer whilst the USA had to satisfy themselves with 5 points for all bar one.  This saw them come forward confidently into the speed leg where the points on offer had doubled to 20 for the winning rider and 10 to the defeated one.

It was Laura Kraut (USA) that claimed the first duel over Maikel van der Vleuten (EUR) followed by  Lucas Porter (USA)  who took the lead over Harry Charles (EUR).  This saw Team USA pull back on Europe but not for long when Eduardo Alvarez Aznar (EUR) took the lead over Taylor Alexander (USA).  The penultimate duel came in the form of Edward Levy (EUR) and Jessica Springsteen (USA) and it was Team Europe who were once again victorious to give them enough of a lead to claim the win subject to their final rider finishing.  It was Daniel Deusser for Europe that rode the final round against Mclain Ward with both of them finishing to draw the competition to a close and a Team Europe win for the second time running.

For British teenager Harry Charles from Alton in Hampshire it was an incredible performance and experience for him.  Just 19 years-old, and only months after winning Team and Individual Gold at the Young Rider European Championships this summer, he is now competing against the worlds very best on the FEI 5* International stage.  Riding his fathers 11 year-old stallion Victor, he posted the fastest round of the speed leg, only losing out in his duel by a fraction of a second due to having 6 penalty seconds added as a result of two fences down as opposed to Lucas’s 3 penalty seconds when he lowered a single fence on course.

The team managers were USA’s Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland and Philippe Guerdet the Chef d’Equipe for France for Team Europe.  Talking afterwards Philippe said “It was a good battle this evening and I’m very proud of my team.  I was quite sure that Eduardo would pull things back [after the American’s had come out strong in Round 2] and in the end everything worked out right.  It was a good competition.”

Tomorrow will see the Grand Prix take place at 3pm local time.  For full results and further information visit www.longinesmasters.com

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