Maxime Livio wins first four-star on home ground at Les 4 Etoiles de Pau

EWWs Event Reports sponsored by RACESAFE

Natalie Clark reports….

Young Frenchman Maxime Livio held his nerve to score his first CCI**** victory on Qalao Des Mers knocking Michael Jung off the top spot.

It was a popular win at the south-west France venue when the young Frenchman Maxime Livio posted a clear round in the final phase to knock overnight leaders Michael Jung and his 2015 and 2016 Rolex Kentucky CCI4* winner FischerRocana FST off the top of the leader board. The German Rio Olympic champion went into the final phase with one fence in hand however when two poles rolled, the title, which has eluded Michael so far in his career, was lost for another year. FischerRocana FST’s second pole handed Maxime the victory and her stablemate – and Michael’s second ride – FischerTakinou the runner-up place.

“I’ve finished second at this level before, so finally to win is very special. I’ve had a marvellous time at Pau – the ground was well prepared, the courses were great and my horse performed well,” said Maxime.

Best of the British contingent was Nicola Wilson who took fourth place on One Two Many, slipping from third place after knocking two show jumps down. Pau first timer, Somerset-based farrier Alexander Bragg put in a stylish performance to finish fifth on Zagreb after a faultless show jumping round – one of just seven in the competition.  The pair re-routed to Pau after being taking a tumble causing elimination at this autumn’s Burghley.

“My main aim was an accurate test [at Pau], so I am pretty happy right now,” said Alexander after his dressage which scored an impressive 43. “Zagreb is improving on the flat all the time and is more composed in his flying changes,” he continued.

Ireland’s Camilla Speirs rocketed from 32nd after dressage to wind up in sixth place by adding just 1.6 cross country time penalties to her dressage score of 55.7

Pierre Michelet’s up to height and full use of the compact site at Pau’s racecourse setting meant 39 of the 48 pairs who started the second phase finished – 35 of which were clear. Time, however, was more of an issue with riders chasing the clock from start to finish. As well as Camilla Speirs’ Potersize Just A Jiff, Nicola Wilson’s Annie Clover also leapt up the leader board going from joint 32nd after dressage to finish eighth overall.

Both Laura Collett (Palmero 4) and Tim Price (Xavier Faer) who were handily placed going into cross country lost their prizes when they were unseated on course. Laura’s fall came two from home at the colourful Artists’ Palette upright fence while Tim took a dunking in the last water complex when his mount jumped in awkwardly over the log at 22a. Ninth after dressage, Kirsty Johnston had an early run out on course when Opposition Detective skipped past the corner at fence 4. While popular Belgium rider Karin Donckers fell from fifth after dressage with Fletch van’t Verahof to 16th after incurring 13.2 time penalties.

Two horses were withdrawn before the final veterinary inspection; 10th-placed Parkiarrup Illicit Liaison (Sonja Johnson, AUS) and Fleet Street (Roo Fox, GBR) and two more were eliminated at the final veterinary inspection on Sunday morning – Cracker Jack, who lay in sixth place with Boyd Martin (USA), and Cooley Blue Flame, 35th with Katie O’Sullivan (IRL)

Final results

1 Maxime Livio/Qalao des Mers (FRA)

2 Michael Jung/FischerTakinou (GER)

3 Michael Jung/FischerRocana FST (GER)

4 Nicola Wilson/One Two Many (GBR)

5 Alexander Bragg/Zagreb (GBR)

6 Camilla Speirs/Portersize Just A Jiff (IRL)

7 Jock Paget/Clifton Signature (NZL)

8 Nicola Wilson/Annie Clover (GBR)

9 Tina Cook/Billy The Red (GBR)

10 Karim Florent Laghouag/Punch De L’Esques

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