The Pau 5-Star event is part of the very select club of 5-Star eventing competitions. Only six events worldwide are qualified at the highest level and in France, only the Pau 5-Star event has the much sought-after label. The champions will be back again this year, from 24th to 27th October.
The Domaine de Sers in Pau will once again welcome the elite of international eventing. No less than seven riders from the world top 20, an Olympic Champion, and three World Champions are expected to compete here in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques region, but despite the impressive track record of the riders on the star-studded start list, lesser-known riders have surprised us in the past by galloping to victory in Pau. Even though a large delegation is arriving from Great Britain, the flagship nation in this equestrian discipline, victory could come from elsewhere. And why not from France, just like last year?
The top riders have confirmed their participation
Top of the bill for the 2019 edition of the Pau 5-Star event, the Australian and New Zealand riders are tipped as the favourites in a competition where they haven’t always shined in the past. The last time one of these riders galloped home to first place in Pau dates back to Andrew Nicholson’s victory on Nereo in 2012. This year, New-Zealander Tim Price, ranked world no.3, on Ascona M or Wescko and the Australian Chris Burton, no.5, on Quality Purdey will be determined to add their names to the honours list for the prestigious competition in Pau. The road to victory will not be an easy one as the British Armada will be landing in Pau with four of its current leading ambassadors on board. Flying the colours of the Union are World Champions Gemma Tattersall (Chilli Knight or Jalapeno), world no.7, Tom McEwen (Figaro vh Broekxhof or Toledo de Kerser), no. 12, and Rosalind Canter (Zenshera) will be accompanied by Izzy Taylor (Call me Maggie May), ranked world no.17. Other names in the world top 20 are Swiss rider Ludwig Svennerstal (Balham Mist, El Kazir SP or Salunette), ranked no.13, and Japanese rider Kazuma Tomoto riding Tacoma d’Horset, no.15, will doubtless make their presence felt.
The French cohort led by Olympic Champion Mathieu Lemoine
Perhaps the reason why victory has not smiled upon the Commonwealth riders at the Pau 5-Star event in recent years is because the French are so determined to be at their best on their home turf, in the only national 5* CCI-L. Since 2015, the highest step on the podium has been always been occupied by a French rider: Astier Nicolas (Piaf de B’Neville) in 2015, Maxime Livio (Qalao des mers) in 2016, Gwendolen Fer (Romantic Love) in 2017, and Thibault Fournier (Siniani de Lathus) last year. In 2019, the tricolour delegation will be led by Mathieu Lemoine, 2016 Olympic Champion in the team event, and this year he has chosen to ride Tzinga d’Auzay. Earlier this year in May, horse and rider came in eighth at the CCI-L 4* in Saumur. Alongside Lemoine, Arnaud Boiteau will be riding Quoriano*ENE HN, fourth in Lignières just a few weeks ago, Benjamin Massie riding Ungaro de Kreisker, second in the CCIO-S 4* at Pratoni del Vivaro in June, Rémi Pillot riding Tol Chik du Levant, fifth in the 3* Long at Lignières, and Regis Prud’hon riding Tarastro or Vanad du Plessis. Last year in Pau, Siniani de Lathus competed in his first CCI 4* competition (the highest level on the International Equestrian Federation’s competition scale, before the reform of 1st January 2019, which introduced a 5* level). Everyone knows what happened next… so even if the French horses will be competing at 5* level for the first time in Pau, anything is possible!
A new headliner on the starting list of the CCI-L 5* competition in Pau
German Rider Andreas Dibowski confirmed that he would be participating in the Pau 5-Star competition. He will be riding FRH Butts Avedon, who took him to second place in the Lion d’Angers World Championship in 2010. Currently ranked World 35th, Andreas Dibowski is an experienced team rider and won the European Eventing Championships with the German team this year. His victories with the team include an Olympic Gold medal at the Tokyo / Hong Kong Olympic Games in 2008.
JULIETTE FEYTOUT PEREZ