Oliva Nova, Spain – February 14, 2021 – It was a French affair in Sunday’s €30,450 Oliva Nova Beach & Golf Resort Grand Prix CSI 2* at the Spring MET in Oliva Nova, Spain, as Julien Epaillard (FRA) again proved to be unstoppable – even for his notoriously fast compatriot Harold Boisset (FRA). Run under strict Covid-19 protocols and with no audience present, the grand prix concluded the first week of the Spring MET II 2021 – which runs until February 28th.
Ten pairs out of the field of 58 horse-and-rider combinations cleared the first round designed by Grégory Bodo (FRA), and joined the deciding jump-off over a shortened, seven-fence track. Harold Boisset is a familiar face in Oliva Nova, and blazed around the jump-off track in signature style aboard Divine de La Roque (For Hero x Kannan), setting the time to beat to 36.50 seconds – a task that nearly seemed impossible.
That was until Boisset’s compatriot Julien Epaillard (FRA) – the highest ranked French rider in the world – on Kosmo Van Hof Ter Boone (Arko x Pachat II), entered the ring. Stopping the clocks on 35.55 seconds, Epaillard pushed Boisset to the runner-up position, taking home another Grand Prix win in Oliva Nova.
“As always, everything is great here,” Epaillard said about Oliva Nova, a venue he keeps returning to. “The conditions are optimal for preparing the horses for the season ahead. That is why we come here: To get to know our future horses.”
“Kosmo is a new horse for me, I started to ride him this year,” the happy winner continued. “He had a break of over a year due to an injury: He broke his jaw in an accident. We started him up slowly last September and jumped him in small classes. During MET I, he jumped in the Silver Tour classes and this week he did his first Gold Tour and Grand Prix. I think he is a superstar! He has already recorded good results with Maelle Martin, so we knew what he can do. I am very happy: I believe he is a future five-star Grand Prix horse.”
Emilie Conter (BEL) on Catokia 2 (Catoki x Coriall) took the third place with a time of 38.52 seconds, while Philippa Wildfang Linde (DEN) on Carreau Of Greenhill Z (Clintissimo Z x Carentino) placed fourth with a time of 42.78. With one fence down in a time of 36.77 seconds in the jump-off, Lieven Devos (BEL) on Inca’s Big Think (Beaulieu’s Think Big x Lanciano) had to settle for the fifth spot.
Spring MET II 2021 continues next week with a CSI3* 1.50m Grand Prix as a highlight.
Final Results – €30,450 Oliva Nova Beach & Golf Resort Grand Prix CSI 2*
1 ) Julien Epaillard (FRA) & Kosmo van Hof Ter Boone – 0 / 0 – 35.55
2) Harold Boisset (FRA) & Divine de La Roque – 0 / 0 – 36.50
3) Emilie Conter (BEL) & Catokia 2 – 0 / 0 – 38.52
Text: Press release from the Mediterranean Equestrian Tour
Photos: © 1clicphoto.com / Hervé Bonnaud