End of the HUBSIDE SPRING TOUR de Grimaud-Gulf of Saint-Tropez which brought the world’s best riders together for two weeks on the French Riviera. This week Sadri Fegaier’s Haras des Grillons played host to the first CSI 5* outdoor show in Europe (and the only one in the world). The world hierarchy was respected since the best rider on the planet was the winner of the Grand Prix: Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat added an umpteenth victory to his exceptional list of wins today, five weeks after his greatest achievement: the birth of his daughter.

The first CSI 5* outdoor show of the season in Europe!

Forty-six combinations among the best in the world competed in the first CSI 5* outdoor show of the season in Europe, and the only one in the world this weekend, on the track of the French course designer Grégory Bodo.

For the occasion, he introduced a new feature in this HUBSIDE Grand Prix, including a water jump for the first time, at the request of the French riders, with the objective of preparing the horses for the forthcoming Olympics and the European Championships.

The water jump didn’t create any major problems, unlike the delicate vertical-vertical-oxer triple, on which many combinations did not come out unscathed. Spain’s Eduardo Alvarez Aznar, who was the first to go clear in this first round with Legend, started dreaming of a second victory after his win in the HUBSIDE SPRING TOUR’s 4* Grand Prix last week.

A bit earlier in the day, Belgium’s Grégory Wathelet had his second victory in a row in the 2* Grand Prix with Cocktail de Talma. Before the break, only two riders had finished the first round clear, ensuring that the Internet users would be able to watch a jump-off: Brian Moggre, the student of America’s Laura Kraut, also qualified for the jump-off with Balou du Reventon, a stallion which was previously ridden by Ireland’s Darragh Kenny, with which he won the 5* Grand Prix in Chantilly, in 2019.

After the break, three Olympic gold medallists managed to go through to the jump-off: Laura Kraut, the team gold medallist in 2008, France’s Pénélope Leprévost, team gold medallist in 2016, and Steve Guerdat, the current World number 1 and the Olympic individual gold medallist in London in 2012, put pressure on the two riders previously qualified. Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann, on King Edward, Julien Epaillard, the best French rider in the World rankings, with Kosmo van hof Ter Boone, Portugal’s Luciana Diniz and Vertigo du Désert, and another Olympic gold medallist, Scotland’s Scott Brash and Hello Senator, who won the team gold for Great Britain in 2012 and the winner of three 4* Grands Prix at the HUBSIDE JUMPING since it was launched in April 2019, completed the start list of the jump-off which featured nine riders.

A really fabulous jump-off

Spain’s Eduardo Alvarez Aznar, first to go in the jump-off and the winner of the HUBSIDE JUMPING’s 4* Grand Prix last week, had the first double clear round in a time that didn’t appear too impressive. The following rider, America’s Brian Moggre, didn’t give his competitors any more insight into Alvarez Aznar’s time: the American was clear and appeared to have aimed for a clean round without necessarily trying to go fast.

Things became a little clearer regarding the Spanish rider’s time when Laura Kraut and Baloutinue left the ring with one down, but above all in a crazy fast time, which was nevertheless slower than that of Alvarez Aznar. So he had raised the bar very high and ridden a lot faster than everyone had imagined...And Pénélope Leprevost, the French team gold medallist couldn’t disagree with this: despite going clear with Vancouver de Lanlore, she still finished behind the leader’s time.

Then Steve Guerdat came into the ring and managed to improve on the leading time by sixty-six hundredths of a second. After that, the rider from Jura had no cause for concern, as Sweden’s Henrick von Eckermann left the ring with four faults as did France’s Julien Epaillard (despite this, with a faster time than the Swiss rider) and Portugal’s Lucina Diniz; as for Scotland’s Scott Brash, he finished the round with two down.

“It’s my first win since I became a dad, so it obviously means a lot to me. I imagine that my daughter had absolutely no idea what happened (smiles), but it pleases me to think that I won this 5* Grand Prix for her on the day that she is five weeks old. We realised that Eduardo Alvarez Aznar, who was the first to go in the jump-off, had ridden a lot faster than we imagined when we watched his round on the screen. I don’t think my jump-off course walk was the greatest as there were strides to take out all over the place: this is why we were caught off guard by the jump-off and Eduardo’s time. I tried to take out strides but I didn’t succeed (smiles), so I stepped on the gas going into the double. So my jump-off may not have seemed very smooth.

At any rate, I’m really pleased, my horse jumped superbly. I wasn’t sure that it would be enough for the jump-off, but it worked out well in the end. We may have benefited from Julien Epaillard’s four faults. None of my horses competed a lot last year. This one took part in two or three shows in 2020; he started competing again in Spain this year, in small classes and a 3* Grand Prix, then everything came to a standstill again in terms of European show jumping.

So it’s obviously his first show since competition resumed, he has a great mindset and he’s in really good shape. He was a bit fresh on the first day and I was concerned that wouldn’t be enough for today, but he gave it his all and he was in exceptional form.” The next HUBSIDE JUMPING event will be held at the beginning of June: the Haras des Grillons de Grimaud-Gulf of Saint-Tropez will be the setting for three CSI 5* and two CSI 4* shows over a five-week period. We look forward to seeing you there!

Full results here

Press release