Verona Jumping 2023: after Epaillard, Simon Delestre takes Center Stage

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Today at Jumping Verona, the only Italian leg of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™️ 2023-2024, the first competitions of the CSI5-W unfolded at Pavilion 8 of Fieracavalli. Two out of three events were claimed by French riders, echoing the chant “Allez France!” Following Julien Epaillard’s triumph in the second competition, it was Simon Delestre’s turn, a rider with a longstanding connection to the CSI5W program at Fieracavalli, marked by numerous victories.

Simon Delestre, astride the 9-year-old Olga de Kruishoeve, secured the Prize No. 3 presented by KASK (mixed category, h. 155; €55,000). This victory also serves as a qualification for Sunday’s Grand Prix Longines FEI World Cup™️ presented by Scuderia 1918. In the barrage, only five out of thirteen qualifiers completed a faultless round, with Delestre racing to victory in 37.63 seconds. The podium also featured Germany’s Daniel Deusser in second place with Scuderia 1918 Tobago Z (38.92 seconds) and Sweden’s Peder Fredricson in third with Vroom de la Pomme Z (39.40 seconds). The other clear rounds were achieved by Germany’s Marcus Ehning riding Coolio 42 (41.10 seconds) and Francesco Turturiello with Made In’t Ruytershof (41.23 seconds).

This win marks Delestre’s eighth career victory at Jumping Verona. His first was in 2009 with Melodie Ardente, and the most significant ones were achieved with Hermes Ryan in the Grand Prix events of 2015 and 2021. Delestre expressed his joy, stating, “It’s a splendid start to the competition, riding a still-young mare that I’ve only had since August, just three months. Sunday will be Olga’s first Grand Prix at this level, but I believe she’s ready to face it positively. I’ve been coming here to compete for many years: I really like Verona; it’s a fantastic city.”

EPAILLARD RETURNS TO VERONA AFTER 14 YEARS, CONFIRMING “FLYING FRENCHMAN” STATUS

A significant winner for the Prize No. 2 presented by Banca Passadore (time category, h. 150; €30,000), the second competition of the CSI5*-W at Jumping Verona 2023, was Julien Epaillard. The 43-year-old “flying Frenchman,” recently an individual bronze medalist at the 2023 European Championships in Milan, currently ranks 7th in the FEI world ranking and 7th in the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup 2023-2024, of which Verona is the only Italian leg.

Epaillard emerged victorious riding the 11-year-old Hoover with a fantastic time of 60.60 seconds, leaving the American Jessica Springsteen trailing by two and a half seconds with Naomi van het Keizershof (63.10 seconds). The podium was completed by Sweden’s Petronella Andersson on Odina van Klapscheut (63.45 seconds). Francesco Turturiello, sixth with Quite Balou (65.17 seconds), was the top-placed Italian.

Epaillard reflected on his return to Verona after 14 years, “There isn’t a specific reason why I haven’t returned to Verona since my first experience many years ago – my only participation dating back to 2009 – and even then, I managed to secure a victory with Commissario. After so much time, I have found a special atmosphere and a very engaged audience again. I hope to be a protagonist in Sunday’s Grand Prix. I brought Donatello d’Auge here, one of my best horses. He performed very well last weekend in Lyon, and I expect the same in Verona.”

WITH BRINKOP, THE FIRST TRIUMPH GOES TO GERMANY

The first nation to celebrate was Germany, with Kendra Claricia Brinkop, who, riding the 11-year-old Ma Belle, won the Prize No. 1 presented by Prestige (two-phase special category, h. 145; €5,000). The almost 30-year-old German rider (her birthday approaching on November 18) was the only one in the second phase to complete the course in under 33 seconds, clocking in at 32.83 seconds. The podium was completed by the best among the Italians, Alberto Zorzi, second with Stakelite (33.52 seconds), and another German, Hans Dieter Dreher, third with Jiniki (33.72 seconds). Noteworthy among other Italians was the impressive performance of the 24-year-old Camilla Bosio, ninth with Kindesth (35.72 seconds), making her debut in a CSI5*.

Brinkop expressed her enthusiasm, “Verona is becoming a special place for me. During my participation in 2021, I finished second in the Grand Prix with H5 Kastelle Memo. I was already happy to return to this splendid city, and now I’m even more thrilled to have immediately achieved this fantastic victory! For Sunday’s Grand Prix, I will trust one of the other two horses I brought here, Do It Easy and In Time.”

JUMPING VERONA AND THE WORLD CUP ON STREAMING AND TV

Tomorrow, Saturday, and Sunday, Jumping Verona competitions will be streamed on the official Fieracavalli website. The most important events of the CSI5*-W of the Longines FEI World Cup™️ will be broadcast live on RAI Sport HD with commentary by Gianluigi.

Source press release Equi Equipe by Caterina Vagnozzi | Photo Simon Delestre – ph. JV/S.Grasso

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