Tag Archives: Julien Epaillard

Super Sunday at Olympia

Photo: Julien Epaillard aboard Toupie de la Roque.

The Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Leg provided an afternoon of exhilarating sport in the Olympia Grand Hall, with only four of the 36 starters jumping a clear in the first round. As the penultimate to go in the jump-off, Britain’s Scott Brash set the packed crowd alight, jumping clear in a time which looked like it could be the winning round. However, the notoriously speedy Julien Epaillard, riding Toupie de la Roque, knocked Scott off the pole position to take the victory by 0.43 seconds.

The day kicked off with The Pony Club Mini-Major, which went to 11-year-old Poppy Deakin and the in-form Laura Renwick, with ponies also taking to the fore in the opening class of the evening session, The Mistletoe Mini Stakes, which was won by Rachel Proudley.

The evening CSI5* class, The Ivy Stakes, proved to be another challenging content, with just six clears through to the jump-off; however, a speed masterclass from John Whitaker secured the victory, ahead of Ben Maher and Laura Renwick, to make a British one-two-three.

Away from the world class sporting action, The Kennel Club Large Novice Dog Agility Final was won by Sara Bacon with Tynevermoor Torque, and the two Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand Nationals of the day went to Madeline Reeder Smith and Zak Kent.

John Whitaker’s assiduous scrutinising of the jump-off course for The Ivy Stakes paid off in spades as he found the most audacious turn which had the crowd roaring their appreciation.

The cheers became deafening as his winning time of 33.17 seconds flashed up, signalling the 62-year-old’s second victory of the week on his own and wife Clare’s 15-year-old stallion Argento.

It was a thrilling end to a great day’s sport with a British one-two-three, Ben Maher second on Madame X and Laura Renwick third on MHS Washington, with the younger riders all quick to acknowledge a genius ride.

“I studied the course carefully because I knew Kevin [Staut, eventual fourth on S&L Through the Looking Glas] was last to go and I had to do something,” explained John, who has been competing here for four decades.

“It shows what a good horse he is because when we did the sharp turn the crowd gave a big cheer and that could have put him off. This show is special, with the crowds and Christmas and everything. It’s a great feeling and I feel lucky to still be in the sport.”

Poppy Deakin, 11, secured the win in The Pony Club Mini-Major relay that had previous escaped both of her sisters, Daisy and Kirsten.

“I wanted to come here and do better than them,” said Olympia first-timer Poppy with a cheeky smirk.

Riding 16-year-old Munsboro Plunkett, and partnering Britain’s leading lady rider Laura Renwick (Shiraz II), the Tynedale Pony Club branch member perfectly executed a tight turn back to the penultimate fence to take the class by more than one second.

“Poppy knew what she was doing,” said Laura. “I gave her hardly any advice. She was telling me how she was going to ride the course and she did what she said she would.”

Later on, North Yorkshire’s Rachel Proudley finally claimed her dream of winning The Mistletoe Mini Stakes with Painted Lady IV at the fourth attempt. “It’s my favourite show and it’s my last year riding her,” said Rachel, 12. “She’ll be staying in the family though, as she’ll now be ridden by my sister, Sarah.”

To find out more about Olympia, the London International Horse Show, visit www.olympiahorseshow.com.

For more information, please contact:
Olympia, The London International Horse Show:
Gayle Telford gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk 0203 176 0355

Julien Epaillard Is Roque Solid in Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Leg

Julien Epaillard, riding Toupie de la Roque, became only the second Frenchman in history to win the Olympia leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping, thanks to a spectacular burst of speed in the jump-off which relegated last year’s winner, Scott Brash, to second place.

“It is a great honour for me to win at Olympia,” said the 40-year-old, who was 0.43 seconds faster than Scott. “It was a very difficult course, very technical – you needed scope but also great control.”

Course-designer Guillaume Jorge, who officiated at the Rio Olympics last year, set the high-quality field, which included six of the world’s top 10 riders, quite a challenge, and it wasn’t until the 21st to go, European Champion Peder Fredricson on H&M Christian K, that there was a clear round.

Australia’s Edwina Tops-Alexander, a wild card entry, followed with another clear on Inca Boy van T Vianahof, a nine-year-old produced in Britain by Tim Wilkes, in only her sixth competition on the horse. The winner here in 2008, she now heads the Longines FEI World Cup™ rankings joint with France’s Kevin Staut, who finished fifth today with just four faults.

Scott, who pronounced the course “challenging, but well thought out and jumpable”, raised the roof with his clear round on the 16-year-old Ursula Xll and hopes were high that he might score the first back-to-back win since Nick Skelton in 1984. However, despite the fantastic jump-off speed of 37.34 seconds, it wasn’t to be.

“I know Julien well and I knew how fast he would go, so fair play to him,” said Scott sportingly afterwards. “Ursula was fantastic and, although I would love to breed a foal from her, while she’s jumping like this, she certainly isn’t ready to retire.”

Scott is now 28th on the Longines FEI World Cup™ Rankings with five legs to go before the final in Paris in April.

To find out more about Olympia, the London International Horse Show, visit www.olympiahorseshow.com.

For more information, please contact:
Olympia, The London International Horse Show:
Gayle Telford gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk 0203 176 0355

Epaillard Exceeds His Own Expectations with Brilliant Longines Win at Bordeaux

Julien Epaillard and Quatrin de la Roque LM. (Pierre Costabadie/FEI)

Bordeaux (FRA), 4 February 2017 – Frenchman Julien Epaillard took even himself by surprise when galloping to victory with Quatrin de la Roque at the penultimate leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2016/2017 Western European League on home ground in Bordeaux, France. “I didn’t come here with big expectations,” said the delighted 39-year-old from Normandy, after out-pacing and out-jumping the stellar field of 39 starters in another marathon jump-off against the clock.

Runner-up spot went to 40-year-old Dutchman Leopold van Asten with VDL Groep Zidane while reigning European Young Rider champion, 21-year-old Guido Klatte from Germany, clinched third with Qinghai and Ireland’s Denis Lynch lined up fourth with All Star.

It seems even the top course designers are astonished by the ability of the horses and riders on the indoor circuit this winter, as 19 managed to complete Uliano Vezzani’s first-round track without incident. “What can I say? It’s a big arena and the horses jumped great – that’s the sport!” said the world-famous Italian course designer.

It was Rio Olympian, van Asten, who set the jump-off target when second to go and clear in 37.71 seconds, and although Frenchman Aldrick Cheronnet (Tanael des Bonnes) and Germany’s Markus Brinkmann (Pikeur Dylon) were also fault-free it wasn’t until Klatte took his turn that the Dutchman’s time looked vulnerable. Klatte steered a shorter route when cutting inside the first fence after tackling the double at the halfway point, stopping the clock in 38.09 seconds, but two horses later Epaillard and his 13-year-old gelding did the same to break the beam in what would turn out to be the winning time of 35.92 seconds.

The superstars who followed him into the ring often faulted at the vertical that followed that inside turn, or sometimes even earlier, on the rollback to the vertical third fence on the new course. Lynch was never likely to beat the target time with his massive 14-year-old gelding, but 38.41 seconds would be plenty good enough for fourth spot when the remaining six contenders all left poles on the floor.

“Things have not been going great for me, and after La Coruna (early December) I felt my horse was tired so I gave him a little break,” said Epaillard as the result began to sink in. “Then we started again in Oliva (ESP) and came here, but I was only really preparing for the Grand Prix tomorrow, I wasn’t expecting this to happen!” he added.

Gothenburg in Sweden will host the last leg of the Western European League in three weeks’ time.

Full result here

Quotes:

Julien Epaillard FRA (1st): “My horse has a very big stride and we had a good turn to the vertical after fence two and had a nice distance to the last jump. With this horse I have only won at 3-Star level – the Grand Prix at Lummen and at Paderborn.”

Leopold van Asten NED (2nd) (when asked why he was two seconds slower than the winner): “I was second to go in the jump-off and had to make a choice. I wanted to be quick but not to take too many risks because wanted to be clear. Even if I started last I wouldn’t have beaten Julien’s time anyway!”

Guido Klatte GER (3rd): “I’m really happy; I can’t believe it! This is the best atmosphere I’ve seen at an indoor show, even better than in Germany!”

Mr Eric Dulong, President of the Organising Committee, Jumping International de Bordeaux: “It’s great to have such a fantastic audience and such a great atmosphere. I want to thank everyone at event – Bordeaux is becoming one of the shows you just have to be at in Europe!”

Full standings here

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Rider biographies: view online and download from http://www.fei.org/bios.

By Louise Parkes

Media Contacts:

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Pascal Renauldon
Press Officer
p.renauldon@rbpresse.com
+33 (3) 44 620 621

At FEI:

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 145