The fourth edition of the Jumping International de Valence CSI 5* / 4* / 2* ended with one of the most beautiful outcomes possible. Amongst all this exceptionally high-level set of riders, it was the former world number one and last year’s grand prix winner, Kent Farrington (USA), who imposed himself again in the difficult €300,000 Hubside Grand Prix CSI 5* at the Haras des Grillons in Valence, France.
“It’s honestly a course worthy of a World Cup Final!” said the riders as they were only discovering the arena. Indeed, Uliano Vezzani, here in Haras des Grillons, designed one of the hardest course of the season, most likely to prepare the horses as well as the riders for the World Equestrian Games in Tryon (USA), which will be held next month. Of the forty-seven riders starting in this Grand PrixHubside, just thirteen of them managed to qualify for the jump-off, and not the least: Philippe Rozier (FRA), Henrik von Eckermann (SWE), Shane Breen (IRL), Martin Fuchs (SUI), Janika Sprunger (SUI), Robert Whitaker (GBR), Eric Lamaze (CAN), Manuel Fernandez Saro (ESP), Fredrik Jönsson (SWE), Cian O’Connor IRL), Kent Farrington (USA), Max Kühner (IRL), and even Simon Delestre (FRA). All fought bravely in the second round, but only four managed a double clear round.
The fastest was undoubtedly the winner of the 2017 edition, Kent Farrington (USA). Riding his loyal Gazelle, he took all the risks to pull out and offer himself this victory, riding the 12-year-old bay mare (Kashmir van Schuttershof x Indoctro) galloped across the finish line in 43.85 seconds for a back-to-back victory, defending last year’s title.
Kent Farrington (USA) & Gazelle
“My advantage is that I know perfectly my mare, it has been years since we have been evolving together. Gazelle is really careful, she can gallop very fast and I can approach a vertical jump at full speed, she will always manage not to take one pool down. It’s an amazing show, the organisation is perfect. I am decided to come back next year, and why not attempt a third win!”. After being kept away from the high-level competitions for a few months, Kent Farrington is now back on his feet with all his energy. His secret? “I took a few months of rest, then I practised,again and again. This is what allowed me to come back to my best self this fast.” he confessed.
Henrik von Henckermann (SWE) and Toveks Mary Lou (Montendro x Portland L) climbed onto the second step of the podium with a flawless performance and a time of 44.69 seconds. The couple, already in third position at the World Cup Final in Paris this year, proved once again that they are in good shape. They will certainly be one of the most frightening competitors during the World Equestrian Games.
Martin Fuchs (SUI) and Clooney finished in third position backed by a penalty-free jump-off performance in 47.25 seconds.
The best French rider of this expected class was Simon Delestre, riding Chesall Zimequest, with whom he won this same Grand Prix two years before. This time, they both finished at the sixth position, taking one pole down during the jump-off.
The Jumping International de Valence is now written in the list of the most expected and high-level competitions of the globe and attracts the most exceptional riders of the world with its well-managedorganisation. The appointment is already made for the fifth edition in August 2019.
For full results, click here
Categories: CSI 5*