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Epaillard as expected in the Longines Speed Challenge of Paris

Friday, 01 December 2017
CSI5* Longines Masters of Paris 2017

Photo (c) Tiffany Van Halle. Julien Epaillard and Cristallo A LM celebrating their victory in Paris. Photo (c) Tiffany Van Halle.

As expected, Julien Epaillard left his breaks at the in-gate to win Friday’s Longines Speed Challenge of Paris by almost a second – despite having a rail down. Riding his faithful 13-year-old partner Cristallo A LM (Casall x Corofino I), the French rider yet again demonstrated that he is one of the fastest in the world.

It was Dutch rider Leopold van Asten and VDL Groep Miss Untouchable (Chacco-Blue x Aldatus) that delivered one of the first really quick rounds however, to take the lead in 63.96 seconds in this speed and handiness competition where a pole down is converted into two additional seconds – urging the riders to take all possible risk.

For Van Asten, the lead did not last though. With five riders left to go, home hero Kevin Staut entered the ring on Ayade de Septon et HDC (Wandor van de Mispelaere x Belle d'Avril du Mazy) and delivered a flawless and super quick round to take over the lead in 61.65 seconds lifted on by the Parisian crowds that almost made the roof lift as one of their favourites crossed the finish line.

But, only one rider later Staut was to be overtaken by his compatriot Julien Epaillard on the lightning fast Cristallo A LM. From the very first fence the two left out a stride, and extended their lead for every jump throughout the course taking an incredible turn to the vertical-vertical combination halfway. Coming into the yellow double however, the front rail on the oxer at the a-element fell to the ground – but with their incredible speed the pair was still ahead despite two seconds added when crossing the finish line to snatch the lead from Staut in 60.99.

As last to go Italy’s Lorenzo De Luca and Limestone Grey (Try Time x Unknown) gave it their best effort, but could not catch the two French riders and slotted into third with a time of 63.53 seconds.

“It’s a nice victory today, my horse was amazing,” said Epaillard who already has won the Longines Speed Challenge of Hong Kong. “It’s an amazing atmosphere here. I was a bit lucky because I had one down, but my horse is super-fast and it was a great, great victory today!”


Text © World of Showjumping // Picture © Tiffany Van Halle

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