Frenchman Julien Epaillard denied Great Britain's Guy Williams a memorable treble when he won the 1.50m NAEC Stoneleigh Stakes on day three of the Horse of the Year Show at Birmingham's NEC. Guy had won Friday's two opening international classes, and he looked to have done enough with Titus (Lancelot x Rex Magna) after clocking a jump-off time of 26.80 seconds.
Julien though, who won the Horse of the Year Show leading rider Grand Prix two years ago, had other ideas as he steered Cristallo A LM (Casall x Corofino I) home in 24.89 seconds to take the £7,300 top prize.
It was a jump-off with a twist though as riders could plot their own route, provided they jumped six fences, and it proved an exciting contest, with Britain's Robert Smith completing the podium places in third aboard Cimano E (Unaniem x Chemnitz). Thursday's winner of the 1.50m Grandstand Welcome Stakes, finished fourth in Friday's big class; Belgium's Karel Cox on Cor van de Wateringshoeve (Thunder van de Zuuthoeve x Lys de Darmen) - also he double clear with a time of 28.27 seconds.
Reflecting on his victory, Julien said: "I really like this show. I have come here every year for 10 years now. It was a very complicated jump-off in my head! It is better to go towards the end of the jump-off, but it is not easy to find the best route. This show is very good preparation for the European indoor season. It is a three-star show, but the atmosphere is like a five-star. There are always good quality riders."
Source: Press release from Horse of the Year Show Press Office // Picture © ES Photography
This photo has been added to your cart !Your shopping cart »