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Jumping: a winner made in Normandy!

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An extraordinary atmosphere prevailed at D’Ornano Stadium this afternoon during the test events for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian GamesTM 2014 in Normandy. In a jump-off of nineteen riders, Normandy native Mathieu Billot triumphed in front of his home crowd, pushing another local rider, Patrice Delaveau, into second place. Ireland’s Bertram Allen completed the podium.

Jumping: a winner made in Normandy!
© PSV Photos

The second class of this week’s Jumping test events in Caen boasted a talented palette of participants: 44 entrants, with twenty qualifying for the jump-off and one withdrawal (Morocco’s Abdelkebir Ouaddar chose not to take part in the jump-off). The audience also played an important role in the day’s proceedings: indeed, several thousand delighted spectators bore witness to this thrilling competition! Frédéric Cottier’s course lent itself to a series of clears in the first round, the first performed by France’s Patrice Delaveau on his exuberant Ornella Mail*HDC, who is back to peak form. Soon South Korea, Ireland, Switzerland, Morocco, Poland, Australia, Colombia, Sweden and Great Britain joined France in the jump-off.

Said jump-off was launched by Patrice Delaveau, who set the bar very high with a double clear and a time of 33’60. Suffice to say that the French favourite seemed untouchable from the outset. Seven competitors failed to make a dent in Delaveau’s time, but then along came Mathieu Billot, whose fierce determination brought him home in an incredible 33’13! “Before I went into the arena, Philippe Guerdat, the selector for the French team, asked me if I was really sure I wanted to try and beat Patrice’s time. Of course I was! Pardoes, my horse, is seventeen and nothing really fazes him anymore. Even the atmosphere in D’Ornano Stadium couldn’t take our eye off the prize. Last weekend, we were in lead for a time in a rankings competition at Fontainebleau. Things seem to be looking up for me at the moment,” explains the rider, who emerged into the spotlight in recent years on the FFE’s Grand National circuit. Only Ireland’s Captain Michael Kelly would manage to beat Billot’s time, though it cost him a pole down. Benefitting from the fact that the last few riders came unstuck, his countryman, Bertram Allen, managed to hold on to third place, which he had claimed near the start of the jump-off.

For two hours, the Norman spectators cheered on the participants, delighting in the victory of one of their own and singing La Marseillaise. At the end of the afternoon, the gates of D’Ornano Stadium were once again closed to the public, who will nevertheless be invited back at the end of August for the Games themselves. Mathieu Billot will be back himself, supporting his fellow French riders. “I really hope that France wins,” he added today.  

RESULTS

  1. Mathieu Billot (FRA) & Pardoes – 0/0/33’13
  2. Patrice Delaveau (FRA) & Ornella Mail*HDC – 0/0/33’60
  3. Bertram Allen (FRA) & Wild Thing L – 0/0/34’47

Full Results

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