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Julien Epaillard's winning streak continues in the CSI5*-W Longines Grand Prix of Lyon

Saturday, 29 October 2022
CSI5*-W Longines Equita Lyon 2022

Photo © PSV J.Morel/ Equita Lyon. "She is truly an extraordinary mare and it is a privilege to ride her. I try to do my best every time," Julien Epaillard said about Caracole de La Roque after the pair won Friday's CSI5*-W 1.60m Longines Grand Prix in Lyon. Photo © PSV J.Morel/ Equita Lyon.

Riding Caracole de La Roque (Zandor Z x Kannan), current world number three Julien Epaillard (FRA) took his second win of the weekend when topping Friday night's CSI5*-W 1.60m Longines Grand Prix in Lyon. 

With seven riders out of the current Top 10 on the Longines Ranking included in the starting field of 48, the audience in the fully seated Eurexpo Lyon were in for a treat. Denmark's Andreas Schou on the 11-year-old Independent (Diamant de Revel x Careful 28) made the course set by Gregory Bodo – who had assistance from Santiago Varela – look deceptively easy when he posted a clear as the first to go in round one. However, the difficulties were evenly spread out over the course, with the time allowed of 69 seconds also playing its part. Nine riders after Schou, Gregory Wathelet (BEL) on Cocktail de Talma (Baloubet du Rouet x Dobel's Cento) posted the second clear of the class, making sure there would be a jump-off. Epaillard and Caracole de La Roque offered a thriller round to the audience, running deep into the vertical-vertical-oxer triple combination at fence number ten. With the crowd cheering them on, the pair miraculously managed to jump out of the combination without touching a pole, cleared the rest of the course with ease and were all set for the jump-off.

In the end, eleven pairs cleared the first round track and Schou, Wathelet and Epaillard were joined for the jump-off by Jana Wargers (GER) on Limbridge (Guardus Limbus x Cambridge), Roger Yves Bost (FRA) on Ballerine du Vilpion (Baloubet du Rouet x Quidam de Revel), Jose Maria Larocca (ARG) on Finn Lente (Gaillard de La Pomme x Colandro), Scott Brash (GBR) on Hello Jefferson (Cooper vd Heffinck x Irco Mena), Jur Vrieling (NED) on Long John Silver (Lasino x San Patrignano Corrado), Gudrun Patteet (BEL) on Sea Coast Guiness (Nabab de Reve x Katell), Steve Guerdat (SUI) on Vernard de Cerisy (Open Up Semilly x Djalisco du Guet) and Martin Fuchs (SUI) on The Sinner (Sanvaro x Landgold 3). 

As the third pair out in the jump-off, Epaillard and Caracole de La Roque were in perfect sync and stopped the clock on 33.20. Jana Wargers and Limbridge got the closest when crossing the finish line in 36.04 seconds, but being nearly three seconds behind the leading time, they had to settle for the runner-up position. 

“I was very lucky in the initial round with the triple combination, but Caracole is a genius," Epaillard said after his victory – his 66th of the year. "I don't know how she managed to get out of that combination without a penalty – she is incredible. On the other hand, I caught up in the jump-off; there, I did my job. She is truly an extraordinary mare and it is a privilege to ride her. I try to do my best every time." 

Roger Yves Bost and Ballerine du Vilpion took the third place, while Andreas Schou on Independent ended their night by placing fourth and Jose Maria Larocca on Finn Lente fifth. 

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