Julien Epaillard and Jalanta P’s winning ways continue with victory in the CSI3* Grand Prix presented by CHG at Spring MET I 2020
Julien Epaillard (FRA) and Jalanta P (Catalano x Fortinbras), took their second Grand Prix victory in three weeks when taking the top honours in Sunday’s CSI3* Grand Prix presented by CHG at Spring MET I 2020.
The pair won the CSI2* Grand Prix during week one, and repeated themselves in the third and final week of competition at the first part of the Mediterranean Equestrian Tour’s spring edition.
Some of the world’s very best riders have been in action in Oliva Nova, Spain during the last three weeks and Sunday’s CSI3* 1.50m Grand Prix was a star-studded affair with Peder Fredricson (SWE), Edwina Tops-Alexander (AUS), Alberto Zorzi (ITA), Penelope Leprevost (FRA) and Lorenzo De Luca (ITA) among the names on the start list. In the end, twelve out of the 58 horse-and-rider combinations in the Grand Prix managed to deliver clear rounds over the first-round track – designed by Javier Tenor (ESP) – and moved on to the jump-off.
As first to go in the jump-off, it was Marie Demonte (FRA) and Vega de La Roche (Nabab de Reve x Canturo) that set the time to beat to 30.51 seconds. However, Demonte was overtaken by Marlon Modolo Zanotelli (BRA) and the lightning fast mare Sweet Tricia (Berlin x Tampa) – who shortly thereafter had to give way for Alberto Zorzi and Vauban du Trio (Nervoso x Desir du Chateau) that were the first to bring the clock down under the 30-second mark with a time of 29.19. Zorzi took advantage of the 11-year-old gelding’s huge stride – shaving off nearly a second on Modolo Zanotelli’s leading time. Lorenzo De Luca also gave it a good shot, but was just shy of his compatriot’s time as Nuance Bleue Vdm Z (Nabab de Reve x Canturo) crossed the timers in 29.85 seconds. Julien Epaillard has had a great start to 2020, also taking home the CSI5* Grand Prix of Amsterdam last weekend, and as last to go in the jump-off he did what he does best – ride faster than the rest. With his 11-year-old grey mare Jalanta P he blazed through the finish line in an incredible 28.15 seconds to standing ovations from the audience that had lined up outside The Club under the beautiful January sun.
“I have had a very nice start to the 2020 season, although 2019 did not end bad either,” smiled the happy winner. “I have a stable full of good horses, and five to six of them can all jump a five-star Grand Prix. That also makes it easier to make a good plan for all of them, and then it’s only for me to make the least mistakes possible!”
“Sometimes you are in a flow, and everything works out – sometimes you are unlucky and have four faults again and again. Right now, everything is positive and it is going the right way,” Epaillard commented on his winning streak.
“I watched Alberto’s round in the jump-off, and he did seven strides from fence one to two. I had planned on doing eight there, but changed my mind as I know my mare is really fast,” Epaillard detailed about his tactics. “Then I also did six strides to the double, and that allowed me to take a bit more time to the last – it all worked out today!” Epaillard smiled.
A crowd favourite in Oliva Nova, Epaillard’s win was a popular one – and the affection is mutual. “I come a lot to Oliva, I really like it here. It is a great place to prepare for the outdoor season. The best here is that you can make a really nice program for the horses. For the CSI3* Grand Prix, you need a good horse as the course designers tend to build bigger compared to the CSI2* and also more delicate,” Epaillard said. “Everything here in Oliva is made for horses and riders, and it’s simply a really nice place to work!”
The Spring MET 2020 now takes a short break, and resumes with its second part of the Tour on February 11th.
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