Saturday’s team competition Le Saut Hermès in the Grand Palais went to Amy Graham and Julien Epaillard. The competition had ten couples in it that qualified through Friday’s big class, lining up to jump two rounds over a 1.60 course that proved to be tricky enough with the yellow triple combination at 8a, b and c towards the in-gate claiming the most victims in round one as plenty of the riders had to see a pole fall to the ground here.
The first pair to set a double clear round was Luciana Diniz on the lovely veteran Winningmood (Darco x Cassini) and Ludger Beerbaum on the younger but fantastic jumping Colestus (Cornet Obolensky x Stakkato), that was on the winning team in the same competition last year under Marco Kutscher. Two pairs later Amy Graham went clear on the big jumping Bella Baloubet (Baloubet D.Ro x Landadel), as did her team-mate Julien Epaillard on the lovely Cristallo A LM (Casall x Corofino).
The couples breathing these two teams in the neck consisted of Katharina Offel who went clear in the first round on Charlie (Cornet Obolensky x Potsdam), together with Daniel Bluman on Conconcreto Believe (Ukato x Burggraaf) who had an unlucky rail down into the triple. Christian Ahlmann and Maiju Mallat were also on a four penalty score, after Ahlmann went clear and Mallat had the a-element of the triple down.
With such closeness on top nobody could afford any mistakes in round two, where a shortened track waited for the riders. As nobody on the top four teams made a single mistake, it was all down to the time. Best of those on four faults were Offel and Bluman who slotted into third position on the penalty score from round one, with a time of 77.83 after round two.
Amy Graham and Julien Epaillard were the fastest of all though, with Graham producing a blistering fast round on her stunning grey partner – and the two times added together put the pair on 76.12 seconds. Luciana Diniz and Ludger Beerbaum had the advantage to be last to go, but could not catch the Australian-French couple and had to settle for runner-up position.
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