CSI 5*

Kevin Staut & Ayade de Septon et HDC Lead French “Trifecta” in €100,000 Longines Masters of Paris Speed Challenge CSI 5*

2018. Longines Masters Paris CSI 5 Speed Kevin Staut & Ayade de Septon 4

First “signature class” of the tenth Longines Masters of Paris, the €100,000 Longines Speed Challenge lived up to its reputation. The Paris audience too: wild cheering and a sea of French flags rose from the stands as Kevin Staut won the fastest class in the world for the third time*. 

The twenty-eight starters discovered the brand new Season IV course, by German course designer Frank Rothenberger, which they will ride again in Hong-Kong in February and New York in April. It was difficult, much to the appreciation of the riders, the crowd and the many riders in the crowd, as even those who don’t take part in the class love watching from the stands. The Longines Speed Challenge is a true speed World championship, where jumping faults count for very few penalties: 2 seconds instead of the usual 4. This gives a better chance to recover from a slight mistake – a careless hind leg, for instance – by going faster.

As a matter of fact, last year, Julien Epaillard (FRA) won with Cristallo A LM despite a fence down. A feat he very nearly managed to repeat tonight… depsite, yet again, a fault from Safari d’Auge in the second double. “The coursed seemed very long“, admitted a breathless Epaillard. “It was all about not running out of steam, but the crowd gave me wings!

2018. Longines Masters Paris CSI 5 Speed Simon Delestre & Chakira

Simon Delestre (FRA) & Chadino

As the class went on, the Norman was settling more and more comfortably in the winners plush chair. He did not seem worried in the least, even when Simon Delestre (FRA) and Chadino took the same tight turns – and rightly so, as a 2 seconds slower Delestre had to be content with the runner-up seat.

2018. Longines Masters Paris CSI 5 Speed Kevin Staut & Ayade de Septon 5

Kevin Staut (FRA) & Ayade de Septon* et HDC

Then, suddenly, the crowd started chanting “Kevin, Kevin” even before the Olympic champion entered the arena, never abating until the end of the course. “I could hear “Kevin” while a was waiting in the passageway before I set off. But from the moment I was in front of the first obstacle, I was completely focused on my course. The strategy we developed with Philippe Guerdat was to be cautious in the beginning.

2018. Longines Masters Paris CSI 5 Speed Kevin Staut & Ayade de Septon 3

Kevin Staut (FRA) & Ayade de Septon* et HDC

Then, I felt Ayade de Septon*HDC was really game. She was going better and better and proved generous all along, so then I started taking risks.”… to beat the title holder by a hair – 23″ precisely – thanks to a perfect course, for the greatest joy of the amazing Paris fans.

2018. Longines Masters Paris CSI 5 Speed Moments Kevin Staut

Kevin Staut (FRA) raising the Baccarat Trophy 

“When you enter this arena, the atmosphere is fantastic. My concentration tuned-out the noise, but I felt the whole crowd behind us”  Another dimension of show jumping where the crowd often plays the part of “third man”… which the French trio of riders used to their advantage tonight!

2018. Longines Masters Paris CSI 5 Speed Podium.jpg

Podium: Julien Epaillard (FRA), Kevin Staut (FRA) and Simon Delestre (FRA) posing for pictures on the podium accompanied by Fernanda Ameeuw and Juan Carlos Capelli – Head of International Marketing at Longines 

For full results, please click here.

Source: Press release from Agence R&B Presse for EEM / Longines Masters

Photos: © EEM / Longines Masters