Grimaud, Saint Tropez, France – April 30, 2021 – The first of two weeks of competition at the Hubside Jumping got off to an unusual start on Thursday. The inclement weather rained on the parade of the first two major Longines Ranking classes of the week at the CSI 4* & 2* event, but Julien Epaillard (FRA) made sure things were back to normal on Friday. One of the winningest riders at the venue, the flying Frenchman got things started by teaming up with Kosmo van Hof Ter Boone to claim top honors in the €58,000 Jump-off Challenge CSI 4*.
A total of 12 combinations overcame all the 1.50m obstacles on the course designed by Cédric Longis (FRA). Known as one of the fastest riders in the world, it was a special day for the Frenchman for several reasons. When Epaillard (FRA) entered the ring, he saw that his student and protégé, Nina Mallevaey (FRA), was at the top of the leaderboard. However, even if he took the lead, the time could still be lowered as there were still others to go, including Kevin Staut (FRA). The Frenchman did not hold back aboard the 11-bay Belgian Warmblood gelding (Arko x Pachat II), leaving all the poles up while going all out for the win in 40.56 seconds.
It was a special result for Julien, not only for his win, but also the fact that his student earned a second-place finish. In fact, Nina Mallevaey (FRA) did it aboard Virtuose Champeix, a horse with whom Epaillard has claimed many victories. In the end, there was over a two-second gap between the two, however, it was a brilliant performance by Nina as she guided 12-year-old chestnut Selle Français stallion (Rubins des Bruyeres x Avec Espoir) towards a penalty-free performance in 43.10 seconds.
Nina’s feat was even greater since she had beaten several of the best riders in the world, including Simon Delestre (FRA). The Frenchman and Berlux Z (Berlin x Major de La Cour) earned bronze honors after posting the third fastest double-clear score of the day, rounding out the top three on the podium in 43.59 seconds.
Winner’s Circle – Julien Epaillard (FRA)
“I didn’t really see Nina’s jump-off because I was entering the track just after her. But I know she’s capable of going fast! So we had to try everything to beat her, especially since there was still Kevin Staut to go. A friend had whispered in my ear that it was possible to pass in front of the tree to go and jump the last one so I tried it but I think I especially saved time turning very short in front of the oxer number 9 and just after it, going on the double. I am very satisfied with Kosmo, who is starting the bigger events after his victory in the CSI 2* in Oliva this winter. Last week, he had several faults, due to lack of experience, in his first CSI5 * in ‘s-Hertogenbosch. I think that this course has nevertheless served him a lot for the future. Today, he seemed perfectly calm in the class. He will do the 4* Grand Prix on Sunday and then I hope he finds his consistency in the 5 * level classes. He’s a horse with a lot of potential. To be continued then!”
Final Results – €58,000 Hubside Jump-off Challenge CSI 4*
1) Julien Epaillard (FRA) & Kosmo Van Hof Ter Boone – 0 / 0 – 40.56
2) Nina Mallevaey (FRA) & Virtuose Champeix – 0 / 0 – 43.10
3) Simon Delestre (FRA) & Berlux Z – 0 / 0 – 43.59
Text: Jumper News, no reproduction without permission.
Winner’s Circle / Source: Press Release by Eloise Lépine /Blizko Communication for Hubside Jumping
Photos: © Hubside Jumping / Marco Villanti / Filippo Gabutti