‘He couldn’t have done more for me today’: Harry Charles on his Olympic showjumping team final round

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Harry Charles and Romeo 88 have added eight jumping penalties to the British team score in the Olympic team showjumping final at the Tokyo Games.

Second to go for Team GB, Harry produced a forward round, but the one-stride treble combination at fence six caught the pair out with Romeo 88 clipping the second element. British pathfinders Holly Smith and Denver also had this fence down.

Harry and Ann Thompson’s 12-year-old gelding went on to have the first part of the double down at fence 12, a big upright, but recovered well to clear the second element.

Harry, who retired in the individual final earlier in the week, and had 12 faults in yesterday’s team qualifier, said the final course had been technically the “trickiest yet”.

“It was very big and very technical,” he said. “My horse jumped amazingly, it was his fifth day jumping in a week, which is extreme.

“He came out and jumped a cracking round so I’m delighted with how he’s ended from where we came earlier in the week.”

Harry described Romeo 88 as a “proper fighter”.

“The double [fence 12] is so difficult, even the best horses in the world are finding it difficult,” he said.

“It’s natural for a horse on the fifth day to feel a bit out of puff. I think if we were back on day two or three we would have been clear. He couldn’t have done much more for me today.”

Reflecting on his first Olympic showjumping experience, Harry said “it’s been absolutely incredible”.

“To finish in the top 30 of the Olympics with the best of the best – it’s my first one on a horse I’ve only known six months. Whatever happened in the other two days, yesterday was a confidence builder and to have got my horse’s confidence back over 1.65m track, I wouldn’t have thought it was possible if you had told me I could do that before,” he said.

“Being around Ben [Maher], Scott [Brash] and Holly has helped me massively. Scott’s been absolutely brilliant, it was such a shame for him that we lost him. He took me under his wing and really helped me through these past few days with everything.”

With the British team sitting on a score of 24, it was decided that Ben and Explosion W would not come forward to jump in the Olympic team showjumping final.

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