Jumping: bravo Filippo!
The buzzing stands of D’Ornano Stadium set the tone for the day! The numerous spectators present this morning followed the action with unbridled verve, cheering the riders on and applauding delightedly after every jump. Held over two rounds, the format of the class did not favour all pairs, with the unlucky ones such as Florian Angot on Made de Semilly, Mathieu Billot on Cassandra d’Ick and the USA’s Lauren Hough on Amice only getting to jump seven obstacles. In the second round, British rider Holly Gillott got a bit carried away by the spectators’ fervour and made a risky decision at the last jump, which cost her four faults.
The first faultless round was a while coming: Ireland’s Captain Michael Kelly jumped a great clear with Ringwood Glen but was unfortunately too slow, which earned him a time penalty. Jumping just after Kelly, world number 6 Pénélope Leprevost on Vagabond de la Pomme, kept up the suspense until the penultimate obstacle, where she notched up four faults. “Even though the stadium isn’t full, you can still feel the spectators’ enthusiasm,” the French rider remarked. The first clear round without time penalties was completed by the thirteenth competitor to enter the ring, Colombia’s Rodrigo Diaz (34’26), who definitely earned the crowd’s enraptured applause. In his wake, Patrice Delaveau and Quenndal de Lojou*HDC upped the ante with a new fastest time of 28’67. But the Frenchman had not taken into account the spirited Filippo Moyersoen on Loro Piana Biricchina Bella, who was determined to beat the Norman rider. “Everything looks great at these test events: the surface, the stadium, the stables. I must admit that my mare was a little overwhelmed by the size of the venue when she entered the arena, but despite this she won the class. It’s a good sign for the other competitions. When I go back to Italy, I’ll tell my teammates that sixty days ahead of the event, the organisation was fantastic, and I’ll tell them that the stadium is right in the city centre, which should remind them of the Rome Games a few years ago (laughs).”
The second half of the class saw more clear rounds, as the riders seemed even more determined to clinch a place on the podium. Young Irish rider Bertram Allen, atop Wrangler II, slipped into second place ahead of Switzerland’s Frédérique Fabre-Delbos on Nirvana Baster. The best French performance in the class was by Alexis Gautier, who finished in fourth place with Sherie Star. All in all, Patrice Delaveau, who came sixth, does not regret coming along. “I am obviously very proud to open these Games here in Normandy, just 50km from where I live. I entered quite late on: originally I thought I’d just come to watch, then I said to myself that it’d be great to share my impressions with my potential teammates and jump in front of the first spectators. So, I pulled out all the stops and even decided to wear my French team colours (laughs).”
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