Jumping: Rain could not stop Delaveau!
Eighteen pairs went clear over Frédéric Cottier’s Grand Prix course, earning a place in the jump-off. The water jump did not cause any major upsets for the competitors: only three pairs had a foot in the water, including a disappointed Philippe Rozier on Phirst du Chai, who had performed a great round otherwise but was thus denied a place in the jump-off. The triple (oxer-upright-upright) didn’t seem to pose a problem, with more pairs coming unstuck at the double.
Second into the arena, British rider Jessie Drea on Touchable was the first to earn her place in the jump-off, after a smooth clear round. Soon afterwards, France’s Éric Février on Miss d’Helby joined her in the second round. Unsurprisingly, Ireland’s Bertram Allen, who has been on outstanding form this week, sailed into the jump-off on Dutch Warmblood Wrangler II, notching up a fourth clear round at these test events.
Morocco’s Abdelkebir Ouaddar once again rode the spirited Quickly de Kreisker straight into the second round, while unlucky Jae-Hong Park, from Korea, had the last fence down. With a relatively high number of clear rounds, the jump-off would prove decisive for all involved...
The unluckiest competitor of the day was undoubtedly Dirk Demeersman and his mare Ustina Sitte, who jumped in the pouring rain during an impressive thunderstorm, which forced the organisers to halt the competition for thirty minutes. For a few short minutes, the sky went dark, lightening struck and thunder growled before the menacing clouds showered the stadium... Immediately, all eyes went to the state of the arena and the surface. “The surface’s resistance in the event of a storm is an important factor to take into account. It’s a good thing that there were showers during these test events,” commented the USA’s Lauren Hough (8 faults with Every Way). “After the rain, the arena surface was a bit sticky, it’s true. It’s lucky it happened today: it means the Organising Committee can improve on this.”
Florian Angot (5 faults with Soprano de Grandry) thinks that the weather may have affected the riders’ performances. “I think the course was more difficult to ride for the later competitors, who jumped after the rain. You could see it in the number of clears. In the warm-up ring, it’s less disruptive: if the hoof prints are too deep, we can easily move the jumps.” Henk Nooren, who is accompanying Peder Fredricson, added, “You have to expect some rainfall in Normandy, maybe even heavy showers. In this case, for safety and equality, I think the competition should be stopped for a while after the rain, at least forty-five minutes, to allow all the water to run away.” This is the aim of the test events.
Astonishing! Right from the start, Bertram Allen stepped up the pace, smashing the time set by Éric Février (43’88) by over 4 seconds (39’29). The third rider in the jump-off, he once again set the bar very high. Crowd favourite Abdelkebir Ouaddar on Quickly de Kreisker tried everything he could to take the lead, but just lost out with a time of 39’75. Finally, out came Normandy native Patrice Delaveau and Ornella Mail*HDC, who put on an impressive show both in the opening round and in the jump-off, taking a very risky option under yet another rain shower and earning the fastest time of 37’79 for their efforts!
- Patrice Delaveau & Ornella Mail*HDC – 37’79
- Bertram Allen & Wrangler II – 39’29
- Abdelkebir Ouaddar & Quickly de Kreisker – 39’75