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Longines Grand Prix - Julien Epaillard just keeps getting quicker!

4 November 2023

Serving as a dress rehearsal ahead of the Longines FEI World Cup stage on Sunday, Friday's Longines Grand Prix was won by the one-and-only Julien Epaillard riding Dubaï du Cèdre. 

It must be said that the competition was fierce between the 48 pairs involved in the class. At the end of the first round, 13 riders had found the keys to unlocking the difficulties of the course designed by Grégory Bodo, which comprised 13 obstacles and 16 difficulties to be completed in less than 68 seconds. Those who made it through to the jump-off included the European champion pairing of Steve Guerdat (SUI) and Dynamix de Belheme, the French European bronze medallists Julien Epaillard and Dubaï du Cèdre and the American Olympic team silver medallist Jessica Springsteen riding Don Juan van de Donkhoeve
A few other French riders also booked their places in the jump-off against the clock: Equita Riders' Mégane Moissonnier with Cordial, Roger-Yves Bost and Delph de Denat*HDC, the local rider Julien Gonin on Valou du Lys and François-Xavier Boudant with Brazyl du Mezel, the in-form pair so far this season. 

As usual at Longines Equita Lyon, the spectators were treated to a high-class jump-off. Ultimately, eleven riders were vying to win this class outright, since Jessica Springsteen and Max Kühner (AUT) decided to rest their horses. Five pairs managed to repeat a clear round. And as usual, it was Julien Epaillard who got the win! Having set a time of 36''14, the rider from Normandy would not be overhauled by the remaining riders. Only Ireland's Mark McAuley came close to equalling Julien's benchmark but, with a time of 36"78, he had to content himself with second place on GRS Lady Amaro. Steve Guerdat also tried his utmost to improve on Julien's time, but had to settle for third place with his beautiful bay (37''64). 

"I started third and there were still quite a few quick riders to come after me. So, I took a few risks, but nothing too excessive. I made a great turn to get to vertical number 3 and so the rest went perfectly, which even allow me to play it safe on the last obstacle. Winning at the Longines Equita Lyon is always special. It's one of the most wonderful competitions in the world and the atmosphere is fantastic. As a Frenchman, I feel it's important to do well in front of our home fans. We always give it our best shot. Tomorrow evening, I plan to ride Donatello (d'Auge) in the Equita Masters presented by Hermès Sellier and I should be riding Dubaï in the Longines FEI World Cup on Sunday," said the winner of the evening.

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