Bordeaux, France – February 05, 2023 – “When I was a teenager, I used to come to the Jumping International de Bordeaux CSI 5*-W to admire the world’s best riders. Today, I won my first 5* Grand Prix here…” Grégory Cottard (FRA), a native of New Aquitaine (but living in the Paris region), seemed stunned after this brilliant victory, as if surprised by what had happened to him. However, it is his name and that of his fantastic grey mare, Cocaïne du Val, that will be added to the prestigious prize list of Sunday’s €110,000 Grand Prix CSI 5*-W!
After the seventeen jump-off riders yesterday, course designer Jean-François Morand tightened the screws today with a course just as – if not more – difficult as the day before yet clearly with a tighter time limit as the winner confirms: “Yes, today was bigger than yesterday, the combination was testing, the time was tighter and above all, the best riders of the day before were riding their second horses.” So much so that clear rounds were rare this Sunday afternoon and the public had to wait for fourteen competitors before the situation thawed with a first perfect round signed by Grégory Cottard! There were only 36 riders at the start, and some feared the worst as no second clear round was in sight…
Thirteen riders later, the Dane Lars Bak Andersen (DEN) and Carl-Heinz B. lightened the atmosphere a little with the second clear round of the afternoon, but it was still not enough.
Fortunately, at the end of the class, the world number one, Henrik von Eckermann (SWE) guided Iliana towards the third penalty-free performance in the first round.
Finally, they were joined by the allso the winner of the World Cup the previous day, Marlon Módolo Zanotelli (BRA), completing the short list which offered a very beautiful jump-off that Cottard was going to open just as he did the day before. But this time with more success: on Saturday, with Bibici, he had the heaviest score and was eliminated from the ranking, on Sunday, with Cocaine du Val, he won:
“Yes, I was unlucky yesterday in the World Cup jump-off, I made two faults and I finished last, today, there were four of us and I am first. I am very happy to have won this Grand Prix in my country. Cocaïne has evolved a lot over the last year. We were looking for each other at the beginning of the season, but at the end of the year she was feeling good, and I started to enter her into Grand Prix.”
This first 5* victory on the rider’s childhood grounds and in front of two top 10 riders felt very emotional. “Beating the world number one and the winner of the last night’s World Cup class is huge. I did my job and I was counting on them making mistakes because I know they are faster than me, whereas for me it was the first time I tried to accelerate on such a jump-off and luck turned in my favour. But Cocaine was top, top, top.”
And it is true that whether it is with Bibici, or with Cocaine du Val, two mares that Grégory Cottard rides “naturally”, with a minimal bit and no noseband, the rider can undoubtedly raise his ambitions. “I am going to go and continue this World Cup series in Gothenburg with Bibici, then I will take part in the Saut Hermès in Paris and afterwards I will have the European Championship in my sights. Cocaine will follow Bibici’s rhythm.” And Paris 2024? “For the moment, we are on the long list, but the road is long between now and then.”
Final Results – €110,000 Audi Grand Prix CSI 5*-W
1) Grégory Cottard (FRA) & Cocaine du Val – 0 / 0 – 35.40
2) Marlon Módolo Zanotelli (BRA) & Grand Slam VDL – 0 / 4 – 34.82
3) Henrik von Eckermann (SWE) & Iliana – 0 / 4 – 35.39
Source: Press Release (edited) by Adèle Renauldon / Agence R&B Presse for Jumping International de Bordeaux
Photos: © Artistes Associés