Frenchman Julien Epaillard’s day in Bordeaux !

Julien Epaillard and Queeletta
Credit : Christophe Bricot/Jumping Bordeaux

Sunday 09 February - 20h00 | Press Release

Frenchman Julien Epaillard’s day in Bordeaux !

What a day for French rider Julien Epaillard who, after winning the speed class this morning (the Prix France Bleu) with Alibi de la Roque, won the prestigious Land Rover Grand Prix with his 12-year-old bay mare, Queeletta! Last year’s winner Félicie Bertrand takes second place with the energetic Sultane des Ibis. A French double, supported by an exceptional public \"carrying an energy that we and our horses can feel\" according to Epaillard, that concludes this exceptional 46th edition of the Jumping of Bordeaux.

Out of thirty-four starters only four jumped clear to qualify for the jump-off: a Dutch (Maikel van der Vleuten), a Swiss (not Steve Guerdat who had a fence down but Pius Schwizer) and the two French. Félicie Bertrand therefore came close to the feat of winning two consecutive Land Rover Grand Prix, which would have brought us back to the time of this legendary couple formed by German Franke Sloothaak and Joli Coeur in the 1990s. But the couple knocked a fence down. So close, yet so far, but no regrets: fault or not, the time of the little Sultane would not have been enough to beat the big Queeletta, who was the only horse to clear the jump-off. “I am very delighted with this second place. My time was anyhow longer than Julien’s so I have no regret. If I had a regret it would be the little mistake we made yesterday in the World Cup. But Sultane jumps fantastically, last year’s victory really did us good and gave us confidence. Her performance today shows that it was not just down to luck.”
 
But what a great day for French showjumping: if Félicie narrowly missed her double, Julien has succeeded in his. Two doubles even: two victories for Queeletta (Friday and Sunday), and two victories today for Julien Epaillard: “It’s been a great start to the year for my team. I\'m lucky to have incredible owners and partners around me, which is very motivating and pushes me to do my best. It’s an incredible chance to have Queeletta in my stable. I didn’t want to ride her in yesterday’s World Cup because I needed to give Toupie de la Roque some experience to be Queeletta’s replacement in Las Vegas if something happened to her. By finishing my round with Toupie yesterday, I also qualified her for the final. But it is with Queeletta that I intend to go to Las Vegas. Today, I didn’t want to go flat out in the jump-off yet I still had to take a little bit of risk to push Pius to make a fault, which turned out to be the winning strategy!”

It is therefore no coincidence if Julien Epaillard is France’s number 1 and with these victories, chances are good he could enter the world top 10 next month! Out of six classes, the French riders have won five of them this weekend the remaining class being won by no other that world number one Steve Guerdat. There could not have been a more perfect scenario for the Jumping International de Bordeaux where once again history was written.

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