© PSV J. Morel
JULIEN EPAILLARD: THE LYON KING!
Extraordinary!!! Julien Epaillard is defying the laws of sport and rewriting the statistics book. After winning the Longines Grand Prix on Friday evening and the Equita Masters presented by Hermès Sellier on Saturday, the French rider won the Longines FEI Jumping World CupTM in Lyon, riding his fabulous Caracole de la Roque. He succeeds the Swiss rider Martin Fuchs, world number two and winner of the last three world cup stages in Lyon.
Julien Epaillard has undoubtedly been the leading rider in the international competition at Longines Equita Lyon, Concours Hippique International this weekend. Hailing from Normandy, and currently third in the world rankings, he confirmed his credentials and consolidated his current dominance on the circuit, with this sixty-eighth victory of the season: "You never expect a weekend like this. You have to savour it! I knew that Marlon still had to ride after me in the jump-off. I admit that I was a bit worried about the double verticals, and I was actually a bit lucky. I tried to take as many risks as possible but without pushing it to the limit."
While six couples had gone through to the jump-off, only four managed to complete a double clear round. French rider Penelope Leprevost set the tone with her dashing Bingo del Tondou and set the initial reference time of 38"89 (fourth). The Dutch rider Jur Vrieling and Long John Silver followed and didn't let them keep the lead for long, clocking 37"97 on the finish line. Then, the fourth rider of the jump-off, Julien Epaillard, entered the arena, driven by the public and boosted by his recent successes. The audience held their breath until the finish, before being able to applaud the rider's ultimate performance, having just lowered the reference time (34''88) by almost three seconds. Neither the Danish rider Andreas Schou on Darc de Lux, nor the Brazilian Marlon Modolo Zanotelli on VDL Edgar M could do better, although the latter took second place with a very fast time of 35''61. "I didn't watch Julien too much, so as not to put too much pressure on myself. I knew he would be unbeatable, if he managed a good jump-off, so I just concentrated on my job and I am very happy with my horse, which jumped very well," said the Brazilian rider after the event.
As regards the French riders, Simon Delestre and Cayman Jolly Jumper finished seventh, having picked up an unfortunate time penalty in the first round, while Kevin Staut and Scuderia 1918 Viking d'La Rousserie finished tenth, having picked up four points.
1. Julien Epaillard (FRA) and Caracole de la Roque: 0/0 34’’88
2. Marlon Modolo Zanotelli (BRE) and VDL Edgar M: 0/0 35’’61
3. Jur Vrieling (NED) and Long John Silver: 0/0 37’’97