France's Épaillard into World Cup Final after Ahlmann decides not to go to Paris

Credit : Scoopdyga (Archives)

Tuesday 20 March - 16h20 | Anaïs Durr

France's Épaillard into World Cup Final after Ahlmann decides not to go to Paris

The German Champion Christian Ahlmann has announced that he will not take part in the 2018 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final, April 11-15 at the AccorHotels Arena in Paris. 

 - France's Épaillard into World Cup Final after Ahlmann decides not to go to Paris

The former partner of Taloubet Z, who retired recently after their victory in the Grand Prix CSI 5* of Leipzig, will thus not repeat his 2011 title this year.  Ahlmann’s withdrawal profits France’s Julien Épaillard, in the pole position of riders on the reserve list, just outside of the group which qualified. 

“I learned last Monday by telephone that Christian Ahlmann would not participate in the Final. But before committing myself, I wanted to see how my horse, Usual Suspect, did at the Saut Hermès this weekend. Overall, he jumped pretty well even though there are still some small adjustments to make, so this Monday morning we decided to confirm my participation. I know I don’t have much of a chance to get onto the podium, but the Final is taking place in Paris, in France, so I have even more desire to do it. And there is also a 1.45m class Wednesday as well as another at 1.50m, so I thought I would at least ride him in those two events.  Then we’ll see how the competition goes for us. The horse is still lacking experience and there are things to work on, but this will only be good for him to take part in such a competition. And if things don’t go well or if I’m not qualified for the Sunday Final, I can focus on the Grand Prix Saturday night. In any case, I was planning to go to take part in the peripheral classes. Personally, I’ve have never taken part in a World Cup Final and now I am qualified, so it would be a shame not to try. In addition, the last time I rode at this arena, I was 20 years old, and I have very good memories of that. So it will be a pleasure to return. We’ll need the public’s support as we’re not really ready, but who knows – maybe they can give us wings.” (laughs)
 
The top mare of Julien Épaillard, 11-year-old Selle français Toupie de la Roque, was injured at the start of February. The mount, who would have been the French rider’s first choice for the World Cup, is gradually recovering in advance of the rest of the busy 2018 season. 

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