French riders showed the strength of their eventing squad as they dominated the first FEI Nations Cup event of 2020 at Haras Du Pin.
Indeed French riders took the top five individual spots in the CCIO4*-NC-S, led by 2016 Olympic Team Gold medallist Thibaut Vallette and Qing Du Briot. Vallette and Qing Di Briot were fifth after the dressage but a clear round in the show jumping, and a quick round on the cross country, which saw them pick up 1.2 time faults, put them on a winning score of 27.8.
Thomas Carlile and Birmane, who had been level with the eventual leaders going into the cross country, picked up 2.4 time penalties on the cross country to put them in second.
2017 Pau winner Gwendolen Fer would have rued the four penalties she and Traumprinz picked up in the show jumping – as the only rider on the podium to go inside the time on cross country, this would have given her the top spot but on this occasion the combination had to settle for third.
Christopher Six (Totem De Brecey) and Karim Florent Laghouag (Triton Fontaine) rounded out the top five.
Richard Coney and Kananaski were the best placed of the British riders in eighth place (32.2) finishing on the same score as Australia’s Kevin McNab but taking the lower place by virtue of a slower cross-country time.
Dressage leaders Michael Jung and FischerChipmunk FRH finished in sixth as they continue to build a strong partnership. Their stunning dressage test earned them a score of 19.7 – 3.6 penalties ahead of the field. They dropped down the field with a total of 9.2 penalties in the show jumping and 2.8 time faults from the cross country.
In the final team standings, with eight nations participating, France had a winning margin of 33.6 penalties over the Netherlands, with Great Britain finishing in third.
Whilst the Nations Cup was dominated by riders from the Northern Hemisphere, it was riders from the Southern Hemisphere who took top honours in the CCI3*-L.
New Zealander Tim Price took the victory with Happy Boy with a finishing score of 27. The pair had been in second after the dressage and maintained this with a clear round inside the time on cross country. When leaders Gireg Le Coz and Caramel D’Orchis had an unfortunate pole down in the show jumping – which dropped them to fifth, Price took victory.
Austalian Christopher Burton and Leopard’s Action took second (28.1) with Thomas Carlile in third with Cadet De Biliard (28.7). Tom McEwen finished best of the Brits in fourth with Dreamaway (29.8).
French riders took top honours in both the CCI3*-S and CCI2*-L with Stephane Landoiss (Chaman Dumontceau, 26.7) and Nicolas Touzaint (Absolut Gold HDC, 28.0) taking victories in these classes respectively.
The CCI2*-S was won by Evelina Bertoli and Fidjy Des Melezes with the pair leading from start to finish. Britain’s Phoebe Lock and Clotaire De Ferivel grabbed a spot on the podium finishing third on a score of 30.0.