Julien Epaillard Claims Victory in the CSIO5* 1.55m City of Barcelona Trophy

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In a thrilling display of top-tier show jumping at the prestigious Real Club de Polo in Barcelona, the CSIO5* 1.55m City of Barcelona Trophy unfolded, offering an exceptional showcase of equestrian excellence. This competition, classified under the Longines Ranking Group B, featured a demanding format comprising two rounds. The top-performing 25% of the 33 horse-and-rider pairs from the initial round advanced to the pivotal second round.

Designed by the esteemed Spanish course designer, Santiago Varela, the first-round course presented a formidable challenge, with 13 obstacles and 16 efforts. Impressively, all nine pairs that made it to the second round demonstrated their skill by delivering clear performances in the initial round.

The second round, set over a modified course, witnessed an intense battle for supremacy. Leading the way was Harry Charles of Great Britain, riding Sherlock, who set an impressive standard with a clear round completed in 46.71 seconds. However, the spotlight soon shifted to Germany’s Hans-Dieter Dreher and Vestmalle des Cotis, who showcased their agility and speed with a time of 42.69 seconds. Regrettably, a dislodged rail upon entering the double marred their otherwise exceptional performance.

Pedro Veniss of Brazil, partnered with Bockmann’s Lord Pezi Junior, proved to be a formidable contender. Veniss and his spirited mount executed daring maneuvers throughout the course, ultimately seizing the lead with a remarkable time of 44.01 seconds.

Yet, it was the penultimate pair that stole the show – the current world number two, Julien Epaillard, and his home-bred Donatello D’Auge. Known for their trademark power-mode style, they tackled the course with precision and determination. Despite a heart-stopping brush on the third fence, the French duo delivered a truly remarkable performance, clocking in at an astonishing 40.92 seconds. Epaillard’s ride catapulted him into the lead, relegating Veniss to second place and Charles to third.

Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann, currently holding the world number one ranking, and his mount Glamour Girl, put up a valiant effort but were unable to match Epaillard’s blistering pace, securing a commendable second place with a time of 42.36 seconds.

In a thrilling conclusion to the event, the final pair, Simon Delestre and Dexter Fontenis Z, ensured a one-two finish for France. They crossed the finish line in 41.93 seconds, securing the runner-up position behind the exceptional Julien Epaillard.

The CSIO5* 1.55m City of Barcelona Trophy delivered an electrifying display of show jumping prowess, underscoring the exceptional skills and unwavering determination of these world-class riders. Julien Epaillard’s spectacular performance left no doubt about his mastery of the sport, earning him well-deserved acclaim as the star of the day in Barcelona.

Nacho Olano (c) Photo

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