It was an evening where France reigned supreme, as Julien Epaillard took top honours in the opening Mercedes-Benz CSI5* competition at the Longines Global Champions Tour of Cascais. Mirroring his nation’s success in the 2016 Euros, the Frenchman rode a super roudn with Quatrin de la Roque LM (Quick Star x Kannan), wiping the floor with the opposition and clearing the field by a phenomenal three seconds to win the 1.45m two phase competition.
40 international riders took to the picture perfect grass arena for the opening class of the three day sho jumping fiesta, with top horses and riders flexing their muscles for the first time ahead of Saturday’s Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix. As the dusky light faded, the floodlights came on as the world’s best took to the welcoming arena to compete in the Mercedes-Benz class.
Belgium's Olivier Philippaerts and H&M Henna de Goedereede (Argentinus x Heartbreaker) were the first to set the pace, powering around the second speed phase of the class in a time of 39.44s and setting the time to beat. Their time was soon topped by Spanish young talent Gonzalo Añón Suarez and AD Amigo B (Tadmus x Heartbreaker), with the pair shaving off yet more time but turning tighter to the full height jumps. Hot on his heels was Colombia's Daniel Bluman with Believe (Ukato x Burggraaf), and the pair stormed to the top of the timesheets after they stopped the clock at an impressive 36.15s, two tenths of a second faster than Gonzalo’s time.
But it was one of the final riders to go, Julien Epaillard on the 12-year-old gelding Quatrin de la Roque LM who stole the show, wiping the floor with the rest of the field after taking some phenomenal turns and galloping across the distances to make up valuable time. The pair stood stock still and proud as the French national anthem rang out, not for the first time this evening, and collected the lion’s share of the first day’s prize purse.
Source: Press release from LGCT // Picture © Stefano Grasso/LGCT
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