La Baule, France –June 09, 2023 – At the end of a very spectacular event with a jump-off involving three teams, Brazil won the €250,000 Barrière Nations Cup CSIO 5*, the main event on the second day of the Jumping International de La Baule – Officiel de France CSIO 5*. Despite a double round without a fault by Julien Épaillard (FRA), France had to settle for fourth place. On Saturday, the spectators will enjoy a particularly intense day with several high points.
On the beach at La Baule near the François André arena, some people might have thought they were on the sand at Copacabana when the Brazilian national anthem confirmed the success of the Auriverde. After a superb and controlled jump-off Marlon Módolo Zanotelli (BRA), riding his stallion Grand Slam VDL, gave a stunning win to his team-mates: Yuri Mansur (BRA) on Miss Blue-Saint-Blue Farm, Stephan de Freitas Barcha (BRA) on Chevaux Primavera Montana Império Egípcio and Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA) on Major Tom.
The setting for this €250,000 Barrière Nations Cup CSIO 5* is one that all showjumping enthusiasts dream about. It is an event full of exploits, and above all surprises… right until the end. Olympic and Team World Champion Sweden seemed to be on course for its first win in La Baule, but world number one Henrik von Eckermann (SWE) on Iliana struck the plank on the last but one fence on the course designed by Grégory Bodo (FRA). The Swedes then found themselves obliged to compete in a jump-off against defending champion Belgium and Brazil (one pair per team). Belgian’s Wilm Vermeir (BEL) on the gelding lq van het Steentje was the first to have a clear round.
His time was soon beaten by 69 hundredths, however, by world number 10 Marlon Módolo Zanotelli (BRA). Starting last again, Henrik von Eckermann (SWE) made a mistake once more. His time was faster but the four penalty points proved too much of a burden.
Brazil won again after five years, ahead of Belgium and Sweden. “The whole group wants to dedicate this win to Philippe Guerdat (SUI) the former Brazilian team leader, always present in the team and very close to the riders. He is always there for us, always with us, and he devotes a lot of energy to us”, said team leader Pedro Paulo Lacerda (BRA). “Being able to dedicate this win to him is fantastic. Winning a Nations Cup is a very special moment because it is a victory for the whole team. My riders and the horses have been incredible. Enormous thanks to all of them. The crowd have been great and we have enjoyed a great sporting moment”.
A winner in recent months in Paris and Bordeaux, Módolo Zanotelli loves to compete in France. “The spectators in France, and particularly here in La Baule, are knowledgeable about the sport, the horses and the riders”, he said. “They support all the riders, even the foreigners like us. That gives you an extra plus. For the jump-off, I was lucky enough to see Wim Vermeir’s (BEL) round and I got a lot of tips from that”.
Yuri Mansur (BRA) was also delighted to see Brazil in great form. “This win, just one week after our second place in the CSIO 5* in Saint-Gallen (Switzerland) is a great boost. It sets us up for our main objective this year, the Pan-American Championships in Chile in October, where we want to ensure we qualify for the Olympic Games in Paris”.
Off the podium, France quickly lost hope of finishing in one of the leading positions. The Blues will, however, be happy with the great double round without a fault by Julien Épaillard (FRA) world no. 2 on the mare Dubai du Cèdre. The Frenchman is one of the four who had a clear double round, together with Belgium’s Wilm Vermeir (BEL), Britain’s Ben Maher (GBR) and Brazil’s Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA), a legend in the discipline who, at 50 years of age, seems on his way back to the top thanks to Major Tom, his 10-year-old horse. “It’s always very special to win a Nations Cup”, said a delighted Pessoa, Olympic Champion in 2004 and World Champion in 1998. “I’m savouring the moment because this win at La Baule is only my second in CSIO 5*.”
Final Results – €250,000 Barrière Nations Cup CSIO 5*
1) Brazil – 8 / 0 / 0 – 31.19
2) Belgium – 8 / 0 / 0 – 31.88
3) Sweden – 4 / 4 / 4 – 30.52
Source: Press Release from Agence 15Love for Jumping Internacional de La Baule
Photos: © PSV Photo / Jean Morel