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Julien Epaillard and Donatello d'Auge add Bordeaux's Audi Grand Prix to their list of accolades

Sunday, 04 February 2024
CSI5*-W Jumping International de Bordeaux 2024

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Julien Epaillard and Donatello d'Auge won Sunday's Audi Grand Prix in Bordeaux. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.


Text © World of Showjumping



The 2024-edition of Jumping International de Bordeaux concluded with a popular home win for France's Julien Epaillard – current world number five – and his home-bred Donatello d'Auge (Jarnac x Hello Pierville, bred by Susana Epaillard) in Sunday's CSI5*-W 1.60m Audi Grand Prix. 

Only four pairs out of the 28 horse-and-rider-combinations at start in the class, counting for the Longines Ranking Group B, cleared the first-round track set by French course designer Jean Francois Morand. Counting 13 obstacles and 16 efforts, the track set for round one saw faults spread out with the end of the course from fence nine with a tricky distance to the vertical at fence ten causing trouble.

As start number nine, it was Epaillard and his 11-year-old Donatello d'Auge that posted the first clear, and the two were followed by Ireland's Denis Lynch and Brooklyn Heights (Nabab de Reve x For Pleasure, bred by Eric Polfliet), Jessica Burke and Nikey HH (Emerald van'T Ruytershof x Upsilon vd Heffinck, bred by BVBA New Nordic Horses) as well as Belgium's Pieter Devos aboard Jarina J (Cicero Z x Harley, bred by H.C.B.M. Janssen).

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. "I tried to go as fast as possible, and then I had to wait and see," Epaillard told WoSJ about his plan for the jump-off of four. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

First out in the jump-off, Epaillard set the standard by stopping the clock on 38.70 – a time that in the end turned out to be unbeatable. With a time of 40.15, Lynch slotted into the runner-up spot, while Burke placed third in 43.94. Devos was left to fourth when his jump-off with the talented 10-year-old Jarina J did not go according to plan, while Belgium's Nicola Philippaerts and H&M Luna van'T Ruytershof (Levisto Z x For Pleasure, bred by ) finished fifth as the fastest four-faulters from round one. 

"It is nice to win here," Epaillard told World of Showjumping after his victory. "Bordeaux is a special show, it is a long-time tradition in France. It was difficult, I was first to go in the jump-off and there were some difficult turns there. I tried to go as fast as possible, and then I had to wait and see." 

"I am really happy today," he continued. "I won one five-star Grand Prix in Amsterdam last weekend and one here this weekend. Maybe I did the wrong entries for the World Cup; perhaps I should have ridden Dubai last weekend and Donatello this weekend. But it is also nice to win the Grand Prix and I am already qualified for the World Cup final, so it was a nice weekend."

"I was riding one of my best horses, but not all the riders have the luxury of having two horses like me," Epaillard said about the challenging course. "There were some younger horses at start and small faults, not crazy faults. It was a difficult course, but I think for a young horse to get experience, it was a good Grand Prix, like yesterday as well. I think the course designer did well this weekend." 


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