Verona, Italy – November 11, 2023 – Saturday evening’s €100,000 Crivelli Winning Round CSI 5*-W competition at Jumping Verona 2023 turned into a breathtaking race against the clock in which the flying Frenchman, Julien Epaillard (FRA), posted his second win of the weekend when snatching victory with the brave black mare Cancun Torel Z.
There were 11 through to the deciding round, and Lorenzo de Luca (ITA) set the arena alight with a scorching run partnering the 13-year-old gelding F One USA who was like a heat-seeking missile as they curved their way through the seven-obstacle track that concluded with a torquoise oxer.
Breaking the beam in 36.78 seconds the Italian pair already looked to have it in the bag. But there were plenty of opponents prepared to chase them all the way and, sixth into the ring, reigning Olympic champion Ben Maher (GBR) from Great Britain was one of them.
As he steered the nine-year-old gelding Enjeu de Grisien down the final line, Maher was well in touch on the clock. But he arrived very deep to the final oxer, and although the horse was immensely honest and helicoptered his way to the far side without touching a pole the time wasted in the air proved costly as they arrived through the finish in 37.03 seconds.
The following four didn’t threaten for the lead and it seemed unlikely anyone could better de Luca’s super-fast tour. But Epaillard, accurately described by the commentary team today as “the master of vitesse”, can never be discounted in a jump-off. And when he’s last to go he’s always dangerous.
Setting off like he was on fire he had a little touch at the first element of the double which was now the third fence. But kicking on he cleared the line for a spectacular clear in 36.78 seconds to tear victory from de Luca’s grasp while Maher had to settle for third place.
Epaillard talked about his winning mare Cancun Torel Z:
“I started riding her this summer in small classes and she jumped for the first time in the Global in Rome, it was about 1.35m and she was good – we didn’t win with one down, but she was jumping good already. Then I brought her to Oliva (Spain) where she jumped 1.45m and she won two ranking classes. Yesterday was her first time indoors and she had one down but she was already super, and today she was amazing, a little bit lucky but she doesn’t have much experience. She’s super-brave. She was previously ridden by French lady rider Dorothee Amar who had a good result in a 3* in Compiegne with her and before that she was jumping 1.45m with her. She’s a really lovely mare, and she has a big heart!“, said the happy French rider tonight.
Final Results – €100,000 Crivelli Winning Round CSI 5*-W
1) Julien Epaillard (FRA) & Cancun Torel Z – 0 / 0 – 36.78
2) Lorenzo de Luca (ITA) & F One USA – 0 / 0 – 37.03
3) Ben Maher (GBR) & Enjeu de Grisien – 0 / 0 – 37.55
Source: Press Release from Jumping Verona
Photo: © Jumping Verona / Stefano Grasso