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Francois Xavier Boudant and Brazyl du Mezel bring the Longines International Grand Prix of Ireland back to France

Sunday, 13 August 2023
CSIO5* Dublin Horse Show 2023

Photo © Mackenzie Clark Francois Xavier Boudant can now add his name to the list of French winners of the Longines International Grand Prix of Ireland, that until today only consisted of Patrice Delaveau (1995) and Jean d'Orgeix (1957). Photo © Mackenzie Clark.


Text © World of Showjumping



France's Francois Xavier Boudant and Brazyl du Mezel (Haloubet de Gorze x Apache d'Adriers) won the Longines International Grand Prix of Ireland on Sunday, taking home a title that was last won by a French pair in 1995 when Patrice Delaveau and Roxane de Gruchy took the top honours. Throughout the prestigious Dublin Grand Prix’s 89 years of history, Boudant became the third ever French winner at the 2023-edition of the event. "No, really not," Boudant replied when asked if he came to Dublin with the expectation of winning the historic Grand Prix.

A total of 40 horse-and-rider-combinations had qualified for Sunday's CSIO5* 1.60m Grand Prix, and they were faced with a challenging track built by the Irish course designer Alan Wade. With the time allowed set to 77 seconds, the course for the first round counted 14 obstacles and 17 efforts – with the triple combination waiting already at fence number four, the open water at fence number eight followed by a Longines vertical-oxer combination at fence 9ab. While faults spread out all over the course from the very beginning to the final white vertical, the open water caused some headache as well. However, twelve pairs found all the answers and joined the deciding jump-off over a shortened track. 

Photo © Mackenzie Clark "For us, he is the best horse there is," Francois Xavier Boudant said about Brazyl du Mezel. Photo © Mackenzie Clark.

As the third pair out in round one, it was Belgium's Jerome Guery and Floris TN (Quality Time TN x Vancouver) who posted the first clear of the day. Guery was joined in the jump-off by his compatriot Abdel Said and Bonne Amie (A Big Boy x Landfriese), Boudant and Brazyl du Mezel, Trevor Breen (IRL) and Highland President (Clinton x Kannan), Michael Duffy (IRL) and Zilton SL Z (VDL Zirocco Blue x indoctro), Bryan Balsiger (SUI) and Chelsea Z (Chellano Alpha Z x Cicero Z), Samuel Hutton (GBR) and Casablanca-H (Conteur x Landor S), Martin Fuchs (SUI) and Leone Jei (Baltic VDL x Corland), Harry Charles (GBR) and Romeo 88 (Contact vd Heffinck x Orlando), Eduardo Alvarez Aznar (ESP) and Legend (Ogano Sitte x Nabab de Reve), Harry Allen (IRL) and Calculatus (Cachassini x Contello) as well as his older brother Bertram Allen (IRL) and Pacino Amiro (Pacino x Nc Amiro) as the very last pair out in round one. 

In the jump-off, only the top three managed to deliver a double clear result with those too eager to win paying the prize in the form of poles on the ground. As the third pair out, Boudant and the 12-year-old Brazyl du Mezel produced the first clear, taking a clever approach to the twists and turns of the shortened jump-off track. Keeping his turns neat and tidy, not over-risking anything but using his horse's huge stride, Boudant crossed the finish line in 38.15 – a time that in the end turned out unbeatable. Harry Charles and Romeo 88 got the closest to the French pair, slotting into second with their 38.65 ahead of Samuel Hutton and Casablanca-H in third in 39.35. With the fastest time of the afternoon – 36.79 – but with a rail down coming into the double, the last pair out on the RDS Stadium in Dublin, Bertram Allen and Pacino Amiro had to settle for fourth while Trevor Breen and Highland President finished fifth with four faults in 38.79. 

Photo © Mackenzie Clark "I think it was one of the best jump-off rounds we have done together," second placed Harry Charles said. Photo © Mackenzie Clark.

Being the third French rider to win the prestigious Grand Prix in Dublin, Boudant can now add his name to a list that until today only consisted of Patrice Delaveau (1995) and Jean d'Orgeix (1957). "I am so happy, we have such a good team supporting us from the breeders to the owners," Boudant told World of Showjumping. "The course today was classic but big, and the time was good – it was a little bit short, but just good enough," he continued. "In the jump-off, I did not think I was quick enough to win, but luckily it was enough in the end! I have been riding Brazyl du Mezel since he was seven. His owner used to jump him in amateur classes, but when he broke his arm, I got the ride – and he only keeps getting better! For us, he is the best horse there is. He always wants to give his all, he wants to do his best. He is very careful, he is such a nice horse to have, he gives his all to his rider." 

"This was my first time in Dublin, and it was amazing," Boudant said about the traditional Irish venue. "There are so many people who love horses; the atmosphere is fantastic."

Photo © Mackenzie Clark Samuel Hutton and Casablanca-H placed third. Photo © Mackenzie Clark.

Second placed Harry Charles – who has close family ties to Ireland, with his mother being Irish, him being born there and his father having represented the country – was full of praise for his horse Romeo 88 and the venue in Dublin. "There were twelve in the jump-off so I just had to do my own thing," he said about his plan. "I saw the jumps come down a lot, so my main focus was to be clear, do my own round and not get strung out with him, and be tight where I could. It was brilliant, I think it was one of the best jump-off rounds we have done together, and one of the best rounds he has jumped since we have had him so I am really happy with it." 

"I was really surprised with how many clears there were," Charles said about the course in round one. "I walked the course, and me and Mickey Pender were talking a bit and we both thought there would be about five clears – it was definitely big enough. The ground is brilliant, so the horses jump good off it, and in the end there were only three double clears so it was a course to be jumped. I think Wade did a very good job." 

"Dublin is a special show for us," he continued. "My family has a lot of history with Dublin, even though this was my first time riding here. The crowd is amazing! Obviously, we had London this week as well, which is a big show for the British riders, but for me Dublin Horse Show is easily a better show. I am very happy to have made the trip over and we will be coming back for many years to come. Dublin is a real showjumping venue with loads of tradition, a real passionate crowd, and so good for the horses.”


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